Experimenter ★★★★½

"Your father's becoming a fictional character." Moments of spontaneous revelation emerging from within layers of artifice. Not a biopic but an essay film as much on the art(-ifice) of filmmaking as its named subject (see that arguably inaccurate, insistent subtitle). This aspect in and of itself isn't unique but Almereyda's layers here are thin and transparent enough to see the film's ideas through them. Those ideas have a conduit in Sarsgaard's performance, which is carefully understated but also insinuating, oddly sinister but melancholy. Like Milgram's electric shock device, it's convincing enough to get results.

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