The title refers to Stanley Milgram, a social psychologist famous for an experiment on obedience to authority in which participants administered electric shocks to subjects who answered questions incorrectly. (Or at least, they thought they did.) But while the film does give us plenty of Milgram's life, it's the experiment itself that undergoes the drama. Over the course of 50 years, it's conducted, filmed, published, reported on, attacked, defended, discussed, vilified, lauded, reconsidered, followed up on, replicated, and even dramatized for CBS's Playhouse 90 (with William Shatner as the lead). Everything else is just the ordinary life of a college professor showily presented by director Michael Almereyda and sympathetically portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard. There are a few feints at considerations of human nature, and a word is spoken in defense of obedience, but the film serves better to start a conversation than to draw a conclusion. Maybe that's why Sarsgaard spends so much time addressing the viewer directly. (2015) — Matthew Lickona
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