Main Plot Points:
- What happens when a college psych study goes shockingly wrong? In this tense, psychological thriller based on the notorious true story, Billy Crudup stars as Stanford University professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo, who, in 1971, cast 24 student volunteers as prisoners and guards in a simulated jail to examine the source of abusive behavior in the prison system. The results astonished the world, as participants went from middle-class undergrads to drunk-with-power sadists and submissive victims in just a few days.
- Winner of two awards at the Sundance Film Festival, including Best Screenplay, and created with the close participation of Dr. Zimbardo himself, ‘The Stanford Prison Experiment’ is a chilling, edge-of-your-seat thriller about the dark side of power and the effects of imprisonment. Featuring an extraordinary cast of rising young actors, including Ezra Miller, Olivia Thirlby, Tye Sheridan, Keir Gilchrist, Michael Angarano, and Thomas Mann.
What We Thought:
- The Stanford Prison Experiment is a tough watch. Not because it’s a bad movie (far from it), but because it gets under your skin and makes you really angry.
- The film is based on true life events where everyday people took part in an experiment. Some were made into prisoners, others guards. Once you stepped foot into the experiment you couldn’t “break character”.
- It quickly escalated into a power struggle and the actors nailed it completely. Michael Angarano is one of my favorite young/less known actors and he’s pretty amazing in this. He gets into your head and makes you question whether or not you’d listen to this “guard” if you were a prisoner. You know it’s an experiment, but how far are you willing to let him go?
- That’s the question the experiment wanted to answer, how far would everyday people go in their roles. Some “guards” crossed lines while some “prisoners” rebelled while others just took their punishment. I don’t think I could let someone tell me what to do in a fake situation.
- The film wouldn’t be as good without the tension shown by the cast. As stated before, some prisoners act up while others just go with the flow and the actors portray it perfectly. You really seem to get each and every person’s personality coming through in their character.
- Add in the fact that you have people WATCHING this experiment and that adds another layer of tension. Billy Crudup runs the experiment and has assistants watching and allowing things to happen. Not only do the prisoners/guards get you mad, Crudup and his gang make you mad allowing this to happen.
- I’m really big into psychology and the like so The Stanford Prison Experiment worked for me. Seeing how people adapt or change in a matter of days (yes days, not weeks/months) is amazing to me. The actors really shine and make the movie watchable. If you can find it, check it out.
Notable Cast & Crew:
- Billy Crudup
- Michael Angarano
- Ezra Miller
- Thomas Mann
- Tye Sheridan
- Olivia Thirlby
Recommended if You Like:
- Social Experiments
- Getting Angry!