NOVEMBER 4, 2010

Based on a novel, a 2001 German film, a 2002 BBC documentary, and an episode of “Veronica Mars,” “The Experiment” is a psychological thriller that delves into the minds of two different types of men: those in control and those under control. A group of men comes together for an experiment with no real purpose. Half the men are “prisoners,” while the other half becomes the “guards.” The guards have set rules to force upon prisoners, with any physical violence voiding the experiment and the paycheck that coincides.

Adrien Brody continues his independent film pageantry (“Splice,” “Predators”) as one of the men involved in the experiment, becoming the leader of the prisoners. At the same time, the flourishing Forest Whitaker takes the reigns as the mentally unstable leader of the guards. Like his role in “Repo Men,” Whitaker proves that playing the villain naturally comes to him. Among the cast is the always violent and vulgar Cam Gigandet and “Sunshine Cleaning” actor Clifton Collins, Jr., making the film feel more legitimate.

The plot remains somewhat predictable and eventually covers just about every aspect of human relationships you could think of in an hour and a half. “The Experiment” effectively evokes emotion, forcing a turn of the head when Whitaker instigates shaving Brody’s head for disobedience and eventually getting all of the guards to urinate on Brody. Much of the film, however, remains unbelievable, like the depravity of Gigandet’s character and trying to rape one of the male prisoners when his libido catches up with him during his “strenuous” two weeks as a guard. Ultimately, the guards take to physical violence, and when the experiment does not end because of this, you are left to question what kept you viewing the film.

Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker are enough to make the film enjoyable. However, if you lose their star power, the film ends up just another episode of “Veronica Mars” (minus the beautiful Kristen Bell). Still, “The Experiment” lacks a certain grit that would have transformed the film into something more like “The Machinist,” which Adrien Brody could pull off. Instead, the film tries its damnedest to be a “Hollywood” type film and becomes irrelevant. If you have not yet experienced any form of the story associated with “The Experiment,” it would not hurt to catch a viewing of the film, as the plot is somewhat original, save for in the media above.

September 21, 2010

Paul T. Scheuring

Paul T. Scheuring

Stage 6 Films

(for strong disturbing violence including a rape, language, some sexual content and nudity)

96 minutes

Amy Vincent

Graeme Revell

Peter S. Elliot

Adrien Brody
Forest Whitaker
Cam Gigandet
Clifton Collins, Jr.
Fisher Stevens
Maggie Grace
Ethan Cohn

Paul T. Scheuring
Jeanette B. Milio

$21.8 million

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