Experimenter (2015)

Michael Almereyda directs Peter Sarsgaard, Winona Ryder and Jim Gaffigan in this biopic of social psychologist Stanley Milgram, the genius behind some of the most infamous experiments around human interaction of the 20th Century.

A dark horse in that it takes the currently stale life story subgenre and breathes some fucking life into it. It helps that Milgram’s work is so fascinating and the ethics of his methods leaves unresolved ground for conflict. It helps that Sarsgaard brings his inherent quirk and untrustworthiness (a creepiness that Hollywood has mined for multiple dozen villains over the years) and repurposes it into an intelligent, flawed outsider. It helps that Almerayda’s stark visual choices first seem obtuse and synthetic but slowly make sense given its subject’s take on reality and obedience to normative behaviour. And the always compelling Ryder shines in the “underwritten” wife role. A bottom shelf, behind the display spinner gem well worth getting down on your haunches and finding in your video rental shop of choice.

8

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