Watch Das Experiment
- 1 hr 59 min
Das Experiment is a gripping German psychological thriller film from 2001, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel. It is based on a novel called "Black Box" by Mario Giordano, which was inspired by the 1971 Stanford prison experiment. The movie revolves around a group of 20 random men who are chosen to participate in a social experiment at a fake prison. They are divided into a group of prisoners and guards, and the experiment is intended to last two weeks. The guards are given complete control over the prisoners, with the aim of studying the effects of power, hierarchy and control on human behaviour.
Moritz Bleibtreu plays Tarek Fahd, a journalist who volunteers to participate in the experiment. The other characters include Christian Berkel as Berus, one of the guards, and Oliver Stokowski as Steinhoff, the man behind the experiment.
The film starts by introducing the main characters and their motivations for participating in the experiment. Tarek contacts Steinhoff, who is the mastermind behind the experiment, and convinces him to let him participate. Steinhoff reminds Tarek that the experiment is about power and control over others, and that he must be willing to relinquish his own sense of self in order to become a convincing prisoner.
Once the experiment begins, the atmosphere quickly becomes tense and oppressive. The guards take their roles very seriously, even going so far as to wear mirrored sunglasses to dehumanize the prisoners. They are given no training, and are expected to use their own initiative in enforcing the rules. The prisoners are stripped naked, given a makeshift uniform, and forced to perform menial tasks. They are also subject to verbal and physical abuse from the guards.
As the experiment progresses, the guards become increasingly authoritarian and violent towards the prisoners. The prisoners begin to rebel and form alliances, and the experiment spirals out of control. The violence and brutality of the guards becomes unbearable, as they relish their newfound power over the prisoners.
Tarek, who is now a prisoner, becomes increasingly agitated by the events unfolding around him. He begins to fear for his safety and starts to question the morality of the experiment. He forms an alliance with another prisoner, who becomes the de facto leader of the other prisoners. Together they try to resist the guards, and take control of the situation.
The film is a gripping exploration of the human psyche, and the effects of power and control on the human spirit. It raises important questions about our willingness to obey authority, the dangers of groupthink, and the slippery slope of unchecked aggression. The acting is superb, and the film maintains a nail-biting tension from start to finish.
Overall, Das Experiment is a thought-provoking and disturbing film that explores some of the darkest aspects of human behaviour. It is a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked power, and a reminder of our shared humanity.