In 1971, Stanford University professor, Philip Zimbardo (Billy Crudup) felt that it would be beneficial to the world for him to conduct his own little experiment. He conducted a very controversial psychological experiment which consisted of a group of college kids being chosen to work for two weeks and make fifty dollars a day. The students were chosen to be either prisoners or guards. Zimbardo turned the Psychology department floor into a fake prison. Zimbardo wanted to find out how these kids would actually react to something like this and how they would handle situations. What he soon realizes is that it gets way too out of hand with the guards and that they may be taking this a little too serious.
The Stanford Prison Experiment is a film that I have wanted to see for quite a while now and I am glad I did. The experience wasn’t that great, but I made it work anyway. Anyone who has taken a psychology course definitely knows what this experiment actually was and what took place. This movie takes an extremely authentic view at how crazy this experiment actually was. Did the experiment work? One could easily argue that it did and this film does a great job of showing how brutal this actually was and how all of the guards took this way too hard and really started to harm the prisoners. This is movie can be quite disturbing at scenes and all you want to do is beat the hell out of these guards.
The acting is pretty solid throughout the film. Everyone knows Billy Crudup from Almost Famous, but with this role he takes on something that seemed rather difficult to do. I thought he was easily the strongest actor that we see in this movie. That isn’t to say that everyone else was bad because that is absolutely not the case. I loved seeing guards such as Michael Angerano who is from Sky High. It is always funny seeing these kid actors grow up and take on roles like this. I will say that he was the second strongest actor that we see in this movie because he easily gave the biggest believable performance. Some of them I was a little iffy about, but he just convinced me in every way possible that he was taking that way too serious.
The Stanford Prison Experiment is definitely not a film that is for everybody because it is definitely hard to watch after the first half hour or so. If you are up to see people abused and bullied throughout an entire film, then be my guest and watch this, but also know that it is a very solid film. Not great, but it is definitely something that is well worth checking out. You could easily tell that this movie did not have a very large budget and it did not need one. It was perfect for what they needed and director, Kyle Patrick Alvarez did incredibly well for his third directed film and I would love to see more from him. If you can watch disturbing film and be fine during it, then I highly recommend checking this one out.
Overall, The Stanford Prison Experiment is incredibly disturbing, but still compelling at the same time. If you did not know much about the actually experiment, this movie does a terrific job of informing you just how brutal it actually was.