Jeff Labrecque
June 15, 2015 AT 04:59 PM EDT

There might be no greater wall than the one that separates prison inmates from the guards responsible for preventing their escape. It’s not just the bars that exist between them, it’s the adverse psychological effects that the relationship has on both camps—one that was the subject of a controversial and groundbreaking study in 1971. The Stanford Prison Experiment is the Sundance movie from director Kyle Patrick Alvarez that examines what happens when college students were placed in a prison-like atmosphere. What was initially a game quickly devolved into something more, as both guards and inmates quickly adopted the attitudes and the liberties their assignments allowed and encouraged.

Billy Crudup plays the academic who himself gets caught up in the drama, and Ezra Miller, Tye Sheridan, and Michael Angarano play some of the volunteers who get more than they bargained for.  

The film opens in theaters on July 17, and on VOD July 24. 

 

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