“The Experiment” is a remake of the 2001 German film “Das Experiment.” The American thriller was directed by Paul Scheuring and stars Forest Whitaker, Adrien Brody, Maggie Grace, and David Banner. The movie revolves around a prison-based experiment that relates closely to the 1971 Stanford prison experiment run by Philip Zimbardo. This film was not displayed in theaters in the United States, but rather went straight-to-video in September of 2010.
The premise of the movie falls in line with the original German film – a “behavioral experiment” is advertised to pay $1,000 per day. The experiment’s director, played by Fisher Stevens, informs the 26 male subjects, that they will be simulating a common prison environment, with a few men randomly selected as guards, while the majority plays convicts. Michael, played by Forest Whitaker, is selected to be a guard, while Travis, played by Adrien Brody, enters into the general prison population. At the beginning of the film, these two men are friends. At first, the rules are abided; including no guard can physically abuse the prisoners. And although everything starts of well, the crimes and punishments get more serious and, under the command of Michael, the guards become more brutal and the prisoners, led by Travis, look to survive.
Reviewers of “The Experiment” note that it definitely follows in line with the original German film, and, in some instances, outperforms it. The acting done by Whitaker and Brody, two winners of Academy Awards for lead actor, do great performances. There are a few noticeable changes in the American remake but, according to some reviewers, it actually assists in the narrative flow of the film.