Monday, February 2, 2015

Sundance review: 'The Stanford Prison Experiment' is brilliant, difficult

PARK CITY, Utah — The Stanford Prison Experiment is one of those movies that, were it not based on a true story with ample source material, would be laughed out of the theater for being so unbelievable and over-the-top.

But it is, and so the power of the film is the power of the study itself, the infamous 1971 social experiment that threw a group of college boys together for what was to be two weeks of role-playing as prison guards and inmates.

With searing performances by an ensemble cast of Hollywood up-and-comers and at the direction of 31-year-old Kyle Patrick Alvarez (who was here with C.O.G. in 2013), The Stanford Prison Experiment is a faithful representation of that fateful week, which was equal parts landmark psychology study and total fiasco.


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