where to begin? the film is based upon the actual stanford prison experiment, but isn’t a reenactment, it’s more of a “what if?” essentially the experiment takes two groups of individuals (one group as the guards and one group as the inmates) and, over a 14 day period, we see what happens. there are certain rules that are given to the entire group by the professor in charge of the experiment and the rest is left to the involved individuals. i don’t want to rehash the plot here, but suffice it to say that things turn sour rather quickly. power corrupts and the film demonstrates that pretty clearly. the prison sequences are separated by cuts back to the protagonist’s new girlfriend whom he met just before participating in the experiment. this serves as a sort of buffer through most of the film so the audience can reflect on what they’ve just seen. i probably would have chosen to use DV (or maybe 16mm? because it’s more grainy), instead of film, for the movie because of the subject matter. i also would have used more handheld shots. on the other hand they did use handhelds a couple times and it had a good effect and that may have been because they didn’t overuse the effect, so perhaps i’m wrong on that point… in a way the film is a sort of an inverse of lord of the flies. in lord of the flies the kids are in a state of nature without any authority or rules, in this film they are confined and have very specific rules and roles they are supposed to follow. the outcome is the same, but the beginning is completely different. that, to me, is extremely interesting and provocative and, regardless of how they filmed the movie, was worth the time i spent watching it. just to make it clear – i didn’t have any problem with the way they chose to film it – i just would have done it differently. how much you want to get out of the film is up to you, but i think it’s impossible to watch it without thinking, and that always makes for a good film. when i watched it i thought about where things went wrong, how i would have done things if i were on either side (guards/prisoners), and how the unfolding of the experiment applies to nazi germany and contemporary life here in the united states……. it’s sad how quickly people can lose their humanity. i could go on for a lot longer, but i’ll cut it here. the film is great and done well. all the actors do fantastic jobs.
“calling it your job don’t make it right.” – paul newman from cool hand luke
“fuck the first amendment, my speech was free the minute my soul descended”