Based on the famous 1971 events of a psychology study at Stanford University, director Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s The Stanford Prison Experiment dramatizes the revealing, horrifying days in which two groups of boys settled far too well into their assigned roles of “prisoner” and “guard.”
“Nobody likes guards,” Christopher Archer says before assuming the role of one in The Stanford Prison Experiment and crossing into the hated, frightening vision of one. “It is the summer of 1971. Dr. Philip Zimbardo launches a study on the psychology of imprisonment. Twenty-four male undergraduates are randomly assigned to be either a guard or a prisoner. Set in a simulated jail, the project unfolds. The participants rapidly embody their rolesthe guards become power-hungry and sadistic, while the prisoners, subject to degradation, strategize as underdogs. It soon becomes clear that, as Zimbardo and team monitor the escalation of action through surveillance cameras, they are not fully aware of how they, too, have become part of the experiment.”
Michael Angarano stars as Christopher Archer alongside Billy Crudup, Kier Gilchrist, Ezra Miller, Logan Miller, Tye Sheridan and Olivia Thirlby. The Stanford Prison Experiment premiered at this past winter’s Sundance to strong word on its devastating proceedings. IFC releases July 17th.