|EXPERIMENTER (director/writer: Michael Almereyda; cinematographer: Ryan Samul ; editor: Kathryn J. Schubert ; music: Bryan Senti ; cast: Winona Ryder (Sasha Milgram), Peter Saarsgard (Stanley Milgram), Taryn Manning (Mrs. Lowe ), Tom Bateman (Cavett), John Leguizamo (Taylor), Jim Gaffigan (James McDonough); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Per Melita /Michael Almereyda/Danny A. Almereyda/ Fabio Golombek/ Isen Robbins/ Aimee Schoof /Un Singer; Magnolia Pictures; 2015)|
|"A robust biopic on Yale's
social psychologist Stanley Milgram."
by Dennis Schwartz
A robust biopic on Yale's controversial social
psychologist Stanley Milgram (Peter Saarsgard),
who died in 1984 of a heart attack.
Director-writer Michael Almereyda ("Paradise"/"Hamlet"/"Cymbeline")
delivers a provocative film. Milgram's experiments
explore authority and conformity, and the unexpected
results brought about a sense of culture shock for the
public. Milgram's wife Sasha (Winona Ryder) assists
him. His experiments were created because he
was disturbed by the Nazi war criminal trials and the
claim that they were just following orders.
pic opens in August 1961, just as Milgram begins his
most infamous scientific experiment. It's an
experiment relating obedience to authority
figures. Two randomly selected test subjects are
chosen to be either "Teacher" or "Learner." The
Teacher must ask the Learner, seated in an adjoining
room, a series of multiple-choice questions. If given
a wrong answer, the Teacher applies an electrical
shock to the Learner. The shock the experimenter
received was in how few test subjects refuse to rebel
against the cruel commands for a wrong answer to
result in the innocent vic inflicted with pain. Two-thirds
of Milgram's nearly 800 test subjects administer the
full range of electric shocks. They seemingly ignore
their own ethical beliefs to rebel against such
inhumane orders and obey orders just as the Nazi
concentration camp commanders did when they claimed
they were "just following orders."
fellow scientists questioned Milgram's manipulative
methods in his research project as deceptive and also
feared there might by long-range consequences for all
participants in the study.
Whatever, alongside thought-provoking psychological films like Kinsey and Project Nim, this intriguing film stands out as being a particularly haunting one.
REVIEWED ON 11/8/2015 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ