V’18: OCTOBER 25 – NOVEMBER 8, 2018

Experimenter

V' 15

Experimenter

Michael Almereyda
USA, 2015
Fiction, 97min, OF

© Viennale © Viennale © Viennale

Experimenter

Michael Almereyda
USA, 2015
Fiction, 97min, OF

Actors: 
Peter Sarsgaard
Stanley Milgram
Winona Ryder
Sasha Menkin Milgram
Jim Gaffigan
James McDonough
Dennis Haysbert
Ossie Davis
Kellan Lutz
William Shatner
Screenplay: 
Michael Almereyda
Sound: 
Jim Morgan
Camera: 
Ryan Samul
Editor: 
Kathryn J. Schubert
Composer: 
Bryan Senti
Decoration: 
Deana Sidney
Costume: 
Kama K. Royz

Production: 
Experimenter Film Productions
World Sales: 
Bleiberg Entertainment
Format: 
DCP
Color

Sometimes a single experiment can simultaneously reveal to us both the possibility of our collective bright future and the unmitigated face of evil. This inventive and playful biography of social psychologist Stanley Milgram gets to the heart of this paradox by revisiting his famous obedience experiments, in which people were made to believe they were administering electric shocks to others in order to test why people will cede to authority, no matter how brutal the request.
EXPERIMENTER explores a big question, especially relevant in today’s social media scramble: how far is too far when we want to collect useful data on human behavior? Although the specter of the Holocaust and the insistence of Nazi concentration camp guards that they were “just following orders” shadows the film’s central theme, iconoclastic genius Michael Almereyda keeps things lively and formally interesting throughout, with much wry direct-to-camera address, a tender if fraught portrait of the scientist’s home life (featuring a riveting Winona Ryder) and a palpable sense of 60’s period values and design. EXPERIMENTER is anchored by Peter Sarsgaard’s magnificent performance, on screen virtually every moment of the film, as Milgram. (Noah Cowan)

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