based on das experiment which was loosely based on the stanford prison experiment. they took a bunch of college kids and had some be guards and others be prisoners. pretty quickly the kids started acting out their roles and did some fairly dehumanizing things. i believe it even led to the apa stating that no longer should studies be conducted that bring psychological or physical stress. this version wasn’t as good as the german one, but it gets to the same core concepts – namely that most anyone is capable of doing bad things if they feel like someone else is in charge. it relates to what happened in 30s/40s germany as well as abu ghraib and even enron. we’re dumb sheep with little moral backbone.
forest whitaker is good at playing both sides of his character here – reserved/soft-spoken and then the sadistic leader who gets the other guards to brutalize the prisoners. the film is good because it piggybacks on the ideas of the stanford prison experiment and das experiment before it, not because it does anything special with those ideas. the execution is fine and maybe it’s more watchable for people who dislike subtitles. other than that, i’d say just stick with the original.