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The Experiment(Das Experiment)

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Germany · 2001
Rated R · 1h 54m
Director Oliver Hirschbiegel
Starring Moritz Bleibtreu, Christian Berkel, Oliver Stokowski, Wotan Wilke Möhring
Genre Drama, Thriller

Based on a true story, The Experiment follows people participating in a psychological research project in which a group of people are divided up groups of prisoners and guards. In a controlled penitentiary-like environment, "prisoners" are incarcerated and ordered to obey the rules, "guards" are instructed to keep order.

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What are critics saying?


Washington Post by

The film's hysterically pitched action overshadows its more subtle psychological points.


Philadelphia Inquirer by Carrie Rickey

Because the confrontations between power and powerlessness are so dramatic and because Hirschbiegel's editing is so emphatic, Das Experiment is practically over before you realize that you don't know what its point is, exactly.


Variety by Derek Elley

A solid slice of entertainment without reaching the psychological depths promised by the subject matter.


L.A. Weekly by Hazel-Dawn Dumpert

Too much of a mess to say anything with assurance, pieced together as it is from mismatched institutional movies such as "Cool Hand Luke" and "Shock Corridor" -- with "Lord of the Flies" thrown in for good measure -- and turning on plot points that simply don't wash.


Entertainment Weekly by Owen Gleiberman

Rigid, airless, and browbeatingly repetitive, Das Experiment is an overly didactic piece of thesis hectoring; it's like ''Lord of the Flies'' set in a Skinner box.


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

What impressed me is how effective the movie was, even though the outcome is a foregone conclusion. That's a tribute to the director, Oliver Hirschbiegel, and the actors, who have been chosen with the same kind of typecasting that perhaps occurs in life.

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