Mind control. CIA operatives. Clandestine government operations. MK Ultra has it all in this slow-burning thriller written and directed by former intelligence officer Joseph Sorrentino. The film artfully explores a real CIA program that ran illegal human experiments on American citizens on the fringes of 1960s society. Hoping to discover a way to weaken individuals during interrogations, the CIA administered a range of drugs like LSD, hoping to find a way to secure confessions through brainwashing and psychological torture. Are these MK Ultra experiences cutting-edge science? Or needless unethical torture? Where is the line? Who gets to make the call?
Highly stylized and set in a moody mid-century dreamscape, the filmmakers tell an intriguing story that raises questions of medical ethics, informed consent, and the responsibility of a government to its citizens. Notably, the film weaves fascinating facts about the program into the darkly compelling narrative through a series of voiceover explainers that may have felt choppy or disjointed with a less skilled hand. Here, the background and context of the program within US history are spliced in seamlessly through beautiful cinematography and creative accents that keep the film from coming off as merely a documentary. Impactful performance across the board– and by Jen Richards in particular– raise the stakes to a startling crescendo in its final act.
Cinedigm To Release The Mind-Bending Thriller,
In Theaters & On Demand October 7
Starring Anson Mount, Jaime Ray Newman, Jason Patric, Jen Richards
Alon Aboutboul and David Jensen
Written and Directed by Ex-Intelligence Officer Joseph Sorrentino
Based on the infamous CIA drug experiments from the early 1960s, this psychological thriller follows a brilliant psychiatrist (Anson Mount) who unknowingly becomes entangled with a dangerous government entity fixated on mind control.
Under Project MK Ultra, the CIA ran an illegal human experimentation program intended to develop procedures and identify drugs such as LSD that could be used in interrogations to weaken individuals and force confessions through brainwashing and psychological torture.