Saturday, October 31, 2015


Went into this flick with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised to come out of it with great respect for the filmmaker, Michael Almereyda, who both wrote and directed this story of Stanley Milgram, the social psychologist (or psychiatrist?) who did an experiment in the early 1960s that became famous because it demonstrated that if led to believe some authority requested it, a majority of ordinary citizens would flip a switch to give an electric shock to an unseen stranger crying out for the shocks to stop.

The movie is a work of art, for my taste, innovative and eclectic in its techniques (just the way half the shots are framed is either an homage to the movies of the period or a parody of them) and originally directed by Almereyda and incredibly acted by all, but in particular Winona Ryder. I didn't recognize her in her introductory scene and hadn't read the poster or reviews so didn't know she was in this and all I kept thinking is who is this actress who seems so unlike the usual "Hollywood" female lead characters. It took me till the next scene to recognize her.

Her performance is supportive to Peter Sarsgaard's as Milgram, who carries the movie and is in pretty much every scene as well as narrating the story through the breaking of the fourth wall to address the audience directly (a lot of the director/writer's techniques are reminiscent of the breakthroughs in films in the 1960s), but Ryder is who ultimately makes the movie work. A beautifully understated and nuanced and most of all realistic portrayal.

I'd catch this flick if you get the chance, even if just to get another and more comprehensive take on Milgram's famous experiment and its impact on, well, the world, even to this day.

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