With the Stanford Prison Experiment receiving critical acclaim (you can read Daniel’s review here) and the film about this reach a wider audience with a VOD release this weekend, it seems that adaptations of famous pyschological experiments may be a trending genre.
Taking place ten years before Philip Zimbardo’s experiment, the latest entry in the genre is Michael Almereyda’s Experimenter. Peter Sarsgaard stars as Stanley Milgrim, a Yale professor who in 1961 designed a controversial experiment on obedience in which people were instructed to deliver electric shocks to a stranger in another room. Though said stranger wasn’t harmed, many of the subjects would deliver fatal doses of electricity simply because they were told to do so.
Opening in theaters, on demand and iTunes on October 16, Experimenter also stars Winona Ryder, Jim Gaffigan, Edoardo Ballerini, Kellan Lutz, Dennis Hyasbert, Danny Abeckaser, Taryn Manning, Anton Yelchin and Jon Leguizamo.
Yale University, 1961. Stanley Milgram (Peter Sarsgaard) designs a psychology experiment that still resonates to this day, in which people think they’re delivering painful electric shocks to an affable stranger (Jim Gaffigan) strapped into a chair in another room. Despite his pleads for mercy, the majority of subjects don’t stop the experiment, administering what they think is a near-fatal electric shock, simply because they’ve been told to do so. With Nazi Adolf Eichmann’s trial airing in living rooms across America, Milgram strikes a nerve in popular culture and the scientific community with his exploration into people’s tendency to comply with authority. Celebrated in some circles, he is also accused of being a deceptive, manipulative monster, but his wife Sasha (Winona Ryder) stands by him through it all.