Films about real-life scientific experiments are hard to make believable because truth is stranger than fiction and some of these experiments produced such outrageous results you’d think they made it all up. Such is the case with “Experimenter”. It’s based on true events in the 60s, and while it’s reduced to a mere footnote in popular history, among the medical field it remains one of the most disturbing — and enlightening — breakthroughs in human psychology. The film itself looks to capture not just the events, but the man behind it as well, with Peter Sarsgard (at one point donning a borderline comedy beard) taking the lead role as psychologist Stanley Milgram. It played to mostly positive reviews at film festivals earlier this year, and now it’s getting a proper release. Looks solid.
Here’s the official synopsis: “In 1961, social psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted the “obedience experiments” at Yale University. The experiments observed the responses of ordinary people asked to send harmful electrical shocks to a stranger. Despite pleadings from the person they were shocking, 65 percent of subjects obeyed commands from a lab-coated authority figure to deliver potentially fatal currents. With Adolf Eichmann’s trial airing in living rooms across America, Milgram’s Kafkaesque results hit a nerve, and he was accused of being a deceptive, manipulative monster. “Experimenter” invites us inside Milgram’s whirring mind, beginning with his obedience research and wending a path to uncover how inner obsessions and the times in which he lived shaped a parade of human behavior inquiries.”
“Experimenter” is directed by Michael Almereyda and stars Anton Yelchin, Winona Ryder, Peter Sarsgaard, John Leguizamo, Lori Singer, Anthony Edwards, Dennis Haysbert, Taryn Manning, Edoardo Ballerini, and Kellan Lutz. It premieres 16th October in the US. No word on a local release yet.