DAS EXPERIMENT (es) (2001 GERMANY) D/W: OLIVER HIRSCBIEGEL W: DON BOHLINGER/CHRISTOPH DARNSTADT W/P: FRIEDRICH WILDFEUER P: MARC CONRAD
Moritz Bleibtreu is convict No. 77, a cab driver (and undercover journalist) who`s volunteered to take part in a scientific experiment overseen via secret video cameras by scientists. A small group of volunteer men sign away their basic human rights for two weeks and are seperated into either guards or prisoners in a makeshift prison set-up complete with cells. The guards are not allowed to use violence, so employ psychological torture and dehumanizing methods to keep rebellious "inmates" in line. Bleibtreu is the main troublemaker and Justus von Dohnanyi is convincing as Berus, a pathetic specimen all too gleefully wielding his power. Based on Mario Giordano`s book Black Box, and (like that novel) hugely influenced by the notorious real-life Stanford Prison Experiment from 1971 (see QUIET RAGE review). As a serious investigation into extreme human behaviour and the psychology of imprisonment, it`s a cop-out. However as an exciting dynamic thriller it`s great entertainment, and good film-making. With Christian Berkel, Olivier Stokowski, Wotan Wilke Mohring, Antoine Monot Jr., Edgar Selge, Andrea Sawatchi, Uwe Rohde and the voices of Heiner Lauterbach and Faith Akin, There was also an animated German short from 1998 (also called DAS EXPERIMENT) based on Stanford. Remade in 2010.

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