Das Experiment – Movie Review Example
Film Reflection Paper The movie Das Experiment is founded on the well-known Stanford Prison Experiment that was carried out in 1971. A temporary prison is set up in an investigation laboratory, inclusive of cells, bars and close watch cameras. Twenty male members are appointed to participate as prisoners and guards for two weeks. The convicts are confined and have to follow apparently soft rules, and the securities are told to maintain order without employing physical aggression. Everyone is free to leave at any moment, thus giving up payment. At the start, the atmosphere connecting both groups is timid and rather ardent. However, fights come up soon, and the supervisors employ ever more radical sanction to substantiate their authority. The movie is a psychological study in human behavior, conducted by Dr. Philip Zimbardo (Cavagna 1).
Questions and Answers
1). What are the major themes of the film beyond the basic story-line? Identify, discuss, and develop the critical human behavior and social issues that this film raises.
The film illustrates power. It displays the influential role that the circumstances can play in the behavior on human beings. Since the security men were placed in the position of authority, they started to act in ways that they would not behave in their usual lives or in other circumstances. The effect of power on the prisoners was unbearable, and the prisoners had no actual control hence they turned out to be passive and depressed. The film brings out the issue of superiority in the sense that despite the guards having been warned not to use any physical aggression toward the prisoners, they decide to harass the prisoners because they felt they were in control of the prison. This indicates how human behavior can change when one is exposed to a given situation. Another factor that the film raises is control. Whilst the convicts and the guards were let to relate in any manner they wished, the relations were very unfriendly (Cavagna 1).
The guards started to act in ways that were violent and insulting toward the convicts, as the convicts turned out to be submissive and depressed. As a result, five of the convicts started to experience such harsh, negative feelings, including weeping and severe anxiety that they had to leave early from the study. This shows how people in control can manipulate others hence causing emotional distress in their lives. Another factor that the film raises is humiliation. The prisoners felt degraded because of the way the guards treated them. Hygienic conditions declined swiftly, worsened when the guards refused to let a number of convicts to urinate or defecate. The guards would not allow the prisoners clear the sanitation container. Guards would discipline convicts by taking away their mattresses, forcing them to nap on concrete. This was extremely humiliating, and the five prisoners could not take it anymore.
2). Explain the role and value of “rules” (in prison, in society, wherever) and their application to “doing things right” versus “doing the right thing.”
Rules are particularly fundamental in every place. Rules extremely depend on situations. In some cases, rules prove violence (Cavagna 1). The outcomes for a person who intentionally does something are dissimilar than they would be should someone be able to establish the action was unintentional. The role of rules in a prison and the society is to guide people to do what is right. The value of rules in any institution is that people are able to do things the right way. Rules guide people to do the right things, and in the right way. Rules also define a person’s behavior because someone will be able to do things efficiency and effectively. When rules are implemented, people end up doing things right while others end up doing the right things. In doing things right, people improve the method as it exists, unlike in doing the right things which entails questioning the basic assumptions behind systems.
3). Why did this role playing experiment take the turn that it did? Discuss.
This role playing experiment took the turn that it did because human behavior is influenced by the circumstance. The natural personality characteristic of convicts and guards illustrate the violent prison situation. Guards assumed their roles to be real and mistreated the prisoners. This indicates how people who are in power can misuse their authority in mishandling other people. In this film, the guards were given the position of authority; as a result, they started to behave in manners they would not act in their usual lives. They employed physical punishment toward the prisoners. Since the prisoners were put in a circumstance where they did not have actual control, they turned out to be inactive and depressed.
4). Select one character. Explain how and why his behavior impacted you.
Moritz Bleibtreu is one of the characters in Das Experiment. He was one of the prisoners. His behavior impacted me in the sense that he provokes the security men to see how extreme the research will go (Mitchell 1). His cellmate tells him that it was a mistake. As a result, rules are set in a prison. Because violence is unavoidable, the guards start to mistreat the prisoners. He is recognized as one with a cruel mouth. This impacted me because character defines a person’s personality.
Cavagna, Carlo. Das Experiment. AboutFilm.Com, 28 September 2002. Web. 4 November 2011.
Mitchell, Elvis. “Das Experiment (2001).” The New York Times 4 November 2011. Print.