‘Experimenter: The Stanley Milgram Story‘ is a 2015 biopic directed by Michael Almereyda that retells the story of the 1961 Milgram experiment. Almereyda also wrote the script as well as served as a co-producer.
Social psychologist Stanley Milgram (Peter Sarsgaard) begins an experiment in 1961 where he places normal citizens in a position where they think they are shocking an individual in a different room at the prodding of a man in a lab coat. Millgram is shocked to find how many of the participants, men and women, would go all the way to the final shock. As he and his wife Sasha (Winona Ryder) move on from the experiment, he writes books, becomes a professor, and performs other less notable experiments, all that have some form of authority control. However, as news of the 1961 experiment spreads, it starts to follow him wherever he goes.
The movie definitely had a good story to tell as anyone who took a Psychology 101 course has heard about the Milgram experiment. I will not comment on my thoughts on the experiment, but just the movie overall.
All of the actors do a good job. Sarsgaard is excellent in the role and brings out the commanding force you would need for a part like this. The supporting cast including Ryder and Gaffigan both do good jobs as well. No one really had a standout performance, but I thought they did well for their parts.
Now, the story was interesting. It kept my attention as I watched the events unfold before me and I enjoyed seeing how this one experiment came to define Milgram and his career. Now there were some weird editing choices that made me scratch my head. For instance, in some scenes, the background would be presented as if it was against a black and poster. It was weird and off-putting. Also, Milgram would break the fourth wall away which was meant to give the audience info as to what was going on. This was totally unnecessary. His normal narration sufficed for that.
Also, I do not feel that the movie gave enough weight to what the experiments were suggesting. They talked about it in great detail, but it was more like they acted around it instead of to it. Now, the experiments themselves did provide plenty of tense moments, but once the current was pulled back, it stopped being so scary.
Bottom line, Experimenter: The Stanley Milgram Story is a decent movie with a fascinating topic. If the editing bay had been a bit more detailed in certain areas, it could have been an excellent movie.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Some foul language, Disturbing topics
FAVORITE QUOTE: I believe we are puppets with perception, with awareness. Sometimes we can see the strings. And perhaps our awareness is the first step in our liberation.
Check out the trailer below:
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