Simple in its method yet powerful in its impact, this dramatization of a real-life psychological experiment at Stanford University in 1971 is a thought-provoking way to spend a couple of hours. When a professor (played by Billy Crudup) hires 24 male students to play the roles of “prisoners” and “guards” in a “prison” simulation on campus in order to study the effects of incarceration, their personalities undergo drastic changes, and trouble arises. Actors Crudup, Michael Angarano, Ezra Miller, Tye Sheridan, and Olivia Wilde (as a research assistant) all turn in strong performances, and director Kyle Patrick Alvarez and screenwriter Tim Talbott mine the plentiful ironies with skill. The political points are just as provocative as the academic ones (122 min.).
Director: Kyle Alvarez
Producer: Brent Emery, Lizzie Friedman, Karen Lauder, Greg Little, Lauren Bratman, Katie Leary, Bob Leary and Brian Geraghty
Cast: Billy Crudup, Michael Angarano, Moises Arias, Nicholas Braun, Gaius Charles, Keir Gilchrist, Ki Hong Lee, Thomas Mann, Ezra Miller, Logan Miller, Tye Sheridan, Nelsan Ellis and Olivia Thirlby
The Stanford Prison Experiment