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The Experiment

March 16, 2011


The Experiment (2010)

John Leavengood

MY CALL: “A”.  This was a cool idea based on cool events and it was done well!

IF YOU LIKE THIS, WATCH:            Sleepers (1996)

WHO SHOULDN’T WATCH:           Teenage girls, grandmothers, church choir members, and anyone who can’t handle watching someone being humiliated in various ways, brutally beaten, or anything else you would expect from a prison movie.  I’d ill-advise watching this on a first date.  So when you hit the Red Box after the Olive Garden, let her pick Going the Distance if you think you’d like to see her again.

             Evidently, Adrien Brody started drinking the same Kool-Aid as Christian Bale and joined the method actors’ club.  Bale transitioned from normal young guy (bunch of lame 90’s movies) to sculpted Adonis (American Psycho & Equilibrium), to shat-himself-to-death Gandhied-out emaciated zombie (The Machinist), then back to buff (Batman Begins), skinny again (Rescue Dawn), jacked again and bigger than ever (The Dark Knight), skinny yet AGAIN (The Fighter), and big AGAIN (The Dark Knight Rises)!!!!  His nutritionist, personal trainer and possibly even steroids dealer must all be laughing all the way to the bank.  Now Brody is trying to follow suit after spending most of his career to date as a skinny guy.  We saw him surprisingly muscled in the last battle scene in Predators (which, I agree with the critics, didn’t earn the “s”).  Now in The Experiment, which was released the same year but likely after considerably less post-production work, he is a really skinny but wiry, Machinist-style, anti-war hippy type.

          Okay, I’m a little more ranty than normal.  I’ll get back on track.  This movie is about, well, an experiment.  You know the deal.  You’re short on cash, you check the “classifieds” section, and some researchers are offering up top dollar for you to guinea pig yourself.  In this case, the nature of the experiment is not to be revealed until you’ve agreed to partake and it begins.  What the participants do know up front is that, if completed, they each get $14000.  If not completed, then everyone gets nothing!  This is in no way shady is it?

            Some of the other participants include Clifton Collins, Jr. (who also beefed up recently) and Forest Whitaker, who plays a transformative character who enrolled in the study to pay for his bullying mother to get an operation or something.  How sweet.

          When the experiment begins in the middle of nowhere each man is assigned a role: prisoner or guard.  They are to play that role.  Violence is not permitted, but not defined.  If anyone leaves the premises, the experiment ends and no one gets paid, and guards must maintain order.  The characters undergo drastic changes throughout the movie and the tone intensifies continuously until the last scenes.

        I really loved this movie and would only ruin the experience if I explained why other than to say that if you enjoy intense movies, you should enjoy this.

            For the history-minded, this movie is based on the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment (

9 Comments leave one →
  1. a_belladonna permalink
    March 18, 2011 7:41 am

    While Brody’s muscles in Predators were indeed impressing, The Experiment was shot prior to Predators. 🙂 (Yes, I’m a geek, lol)

    • John Leavengood permalink
      March 26, 2011 5:51 pm

      Awesome catch, Belladonna! I did not know that.

      In that case I’ll swap my comment order in that he drank Bale’s Kool-Aid by quickly buffing up much as Bale did many times over from being similarly spindly.

  2. De-forestation permalink
    March 29, 2011 12:20 am

    I don’t care how good it is. I can’t watch any movie with Forest Whitaker for at least a year after having suffered through Repo Men.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      April 2, 2011 5:21 pm

      If you feel like some good old-fashioned self-abuse, then re-watch Species as fast forward to the blood-spattered room where he–the psychic–says “something bad happened here.”

  3. John Leavengood permalink
    April 2, 2011 5:22 pm

    But really, try giving him a chance for this movie. It’s cool and if you don’t like hime it’s perfect. He plays a character meant for you to dislike.


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