It was inevitable that comparisons would be drawn between The Experiment and Das Experiment, since the former is a remake of the latter. I had tried to resist the temptation, since I picked the movie with no thought of the German original but only with a “squee, it’s Adrien Brody!”. I could not.
But much like the US version of The Office differs greatly with the UK, this Experiment is a Hollywood version of Das Experiment. By this I mean that it is a slicker production which, in some instances, glosses over the ethical considerations of the real experiment. Das Experiment was a no-holds barred criticism of the lack of ethics in experimentation (albeit in a more gruesome and slightly unrealistic manner). Hollywood took away the grime and horror by painting the ‘guards’ as borderline psychotic (Whitaker’s character) or thugs (the other two). The one guard who objected to the extreme treatment of Travis (Brody) was made to seem weak, and passive. The experimenters were removed from the film by the replacing them with cameras. Having cameras representing the human experimenters, and not showing the humans behind the cameras, seemed to excuse the experimenters from the issue. I would like to think it was a commentary on cameras in general but there was nothing there to substantiate it – there simply was no drama connecting the two.
Just like Brody was still sexy while shaved and subjected to abuse (even the pissed-upon scene which was more like ‘look at my I-have-worked-out body’), The Experiment is a cleaned-up version of the original. And, that in my opinion, is an unforgivable dumbing down of Das Experiment.
And I think I prefer the skinny, not beefed up, Adrien Brody of The Pianist, Summer of Sam, even The Village. Sure, his body is great now, but I liked the brains, not the brawn more. I expected something better from Brody, and was sorely disappointed. Predators should have warned me, but, like a fool in love, I had hoped.