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EXPERIMENT, DAS: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Taxi driver and sometime journalist Tarek Fahd (Moritz Bleibtreu) volunteers for a prison simulation experiment at a university, on the day before he accidentally meets Dora (Maren eggert), with whom he forms an instant bond. Next day, on the promise of DM4000 for two weeks work, Tarek is accepted into a group of 20 men, 12 of whom become 'prisoners' and 8 the 'guards'. Armed with spectacles containing a hidden camera, Tarek plans to revive his career in journalism and make another DM10,000 writing a story about his experiences as 'Prisoner 77'. His deliberate provocation riles Berus (Justus Von Dohnany), one of the guards, and is the catalyst for the simulation taking a violent turn with events escalating to deadly proportions. And when Dora hasnít heard from him for a few days, she begins to wonder why.


Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Based on the novel, Black Box, Das Experiment is a bone crunching drama which echoes with the primal and eternal truths of human nature Ė which is why it is unsettling, frustrating and ultimately harrowing. But sadly, predictable. Sadly for the human race, that is. In a nutshell, Das Experiment explores how men (and in this case, only men) respond to imposed authority, where power is shifted by edict, not by natural evolution.†

What happens, of course, is that each individual responds to this uniquely, but those who can, are able to seize power of the most basic and brutal kind. The thrust of the film is that experiment or not, human beings behave a certain way, with (predictably) dangerous results. Here, the confines of a mock prison inside a university are not enough to moderate most of the menís behaviour Ė on a larger scale, we would be witness to the seeds of war. Or tyranny.†

I havenít read the book, and canít comment on the adaptation, but the one weakness in the plot (supervising professor and his assistant briefly leave the video monitoring area which continually observes the experiment) may be too trifling to mention, but I think it should have been reworked. Apart from that, I think the film is a powerful debut for director Oliver Hirschbiegel, sound and music are used effectively and performances are striking all round.†

Published September 11, 2003

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EXPERIMENT, DAS: DVD (MA)
(Germany)

CAST: Moritz Bliebtreu, Christian Berkel, Oliver Stokowski, Wotan Wilke Mohring, Justus von Dohnanyi, Nicki von Tempelhoff, Timo Dioerkes, Edgar Selge, Andrea Sawatzki, Maren Eggert

DIRECTOR: Oliver Hirschbiegel

SCRIPT: Mario Giordano, Christoph Darnstadt, Don Bohlinger

RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes

PRESENTATION: PRESENTATION: 16 : 9 widescreen SPECIAL FEATURES: None DVD DISTRIBUTOR: AV Channel DVD RELEASE: August 13, 2003







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