The pursuit of knowledge in the name of science often uncovers the unexpectedly dark side of human beings, though occasionally the experimenters are every bit as guilty as the subjects. The Milgram Experiments, Henrietta Lacks, The Stanford Prison Experiment. Each of these experiments exhibit instances of human nature gone wrong, on both sides of the statistical table, but the latter has been adapted into a tense thriller by screenwriter Tim Talbott and director Kyle Patrick Alvarez.
Starring Billy Crudup as Stanford University professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo, The Stanford Prison Experiment follows participants of a simulated jail in which some student volunteers are appointed as guards and the others as prisoners. What starts as a simple bit of role-playing soon devolves into a contentious divide between power-hungry enforcers and submissive prisoners. This first look is both powerful and horrifyingly fascinating in part because of the performance of the cast but also largely because it’s based on a true story. For more on the film, check out Matt’s review from Sundance. Also starring Ezra Miller, Olivia Thirlby, Tye Sheridan, Keir Gilchrist, Michael Angarano, and Thomas Mann, The Stanford Prison Experiment opens July 17th.
Watch the first trailer for The Stanford Prison Experiment below (via Apple):
Here’s the official synopsis:
In this tense, psychological thriller based on the notorious true story, Billy Crudup stars as Stanford University professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo, who, in 1971, cast 24 student volunteers as prisoners and guards in a simulated jail to examine the source of abusive behavior in the prison system. The results astonished the world, as participants went from middle-class undergrads to drunk-with-power sadists and submissive victims in just a few days. Winner of two awards at the Sundance Film Festival, including Best Screenplay, and created with the close participation of Dr. Zimbardo himself, “The Stanford Prison Experiment” features an extraordinary cast of rising young actors, including Ezra Miller, Olivia Thirlby, Tye Sheridan, Keir Gilchrist, Michael Angarano, and Thomas Mann.