» » Derren Brown: Pushed to the Edge (2016)

Short summary

Derren Brown investigates the power of compliance by persuading a member of the public into believing that they have pushed someone to their death.
Four people are being put through a huge choreographed scenery created to persuade them to do things they normally would not do. The finale minutes reveal who would be ready to push a human being over the edge of a building due to social pressure.

Trailers "Derren Brown: Pushed to the Edge (2016)"

The name Bernie refers to the famous character in the movie 'Weekend at Bernie's'. In that movie, a rich guy called Bernie dies and funny things start to happen in which his dead body is involved somehow.

Used Oscar winning make-up artist Dave Elsey in a groundbreaking endeavour to recreate a life size, accurately weighted corpse of a living human.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Winenama
    The Guardian newspaper calls it patronising, among other things. I thought the narrative kept as grounded as spectators.

    This show has parallels to The Hunger Games, except it's very real. I did feel bad for the unwitting participants but I also found it fascinating constantly telling myself I would have acted sooner to end it all.

    The thing is, unless you're in that situation you'll never know.

    Ethically it's certainly questionable and by watching it are we ironically the very thing the show is telling us not to be.
  • comment
    • Author: kinder
    I do think most people are compliant to the point of going along with some nasty business. I believe the Milgram Study was very important. I don't think the concept of this show is ethical. It seems like a recipe to make someone want to kill themselves. If I was convinced to 'murder' someone in a setup I would be shaken to my core. In the movie The Experimenter (2013), it shows Milgram's subjects being interviewed after the study. Some were incredibly mad or disturbed due to his fake torture/murder experiment.

    I haven't seen Derren Brown's other controversial films but what would they do if they actually drove someone to a nervous breakdown, would he care?

    At the very least I think these people are going to have PTSD and nightmares as they thought it was real when it was happening. I can't believe they agreed to be on this show after the experiment was over. I hope they got paid really well.
  • comment
    • Author: Butius
    Just watched this captivating and amazingly executed scenario.

    Many skeptics say that this can't be real, without really saying why they think it's fake. They can't seem to imagine that this is how people act. However, it looks like this is how all kinds of people act. Don't take it from me or Derren Brown, just look up the Milgram experiment or one of many testimonies of people who went through civil war. It is eery how people seem to get along fine, until the system breaks down and authority figures pop up, telling you what to do. Suddenly these kinds of acts start happening everywhere. Just because you can't imagine it, doesn't mean it's not real. It seems good to be reminded of that.

    Others object to the ethics of this show. Indeed, it seems borderline unethical, and I hope the participants were properly supported after the show. However, it is encouraging that the participants who pushed are clearly told that their behaviour was not at all 'strange' in this setup.

    It has to be shocking to experience this. However, maybe we, the audience, could use a little shock to keep us on our toes. I know next time I make a mistake and I am deciding whether I admit it or cover it up, this show is going to play in the back of my mind.
  • comment
    • Author: Whitegrove
    So I've just watched Derren Brown: The Push... For my fellow social psychology enthusiasts, I can only describe this "documentary" as a 'Thrill-Seeker-Reality-TV show by a modern day Stanley Milgram'.

    Seriously, this was a border-lining ethical nightmare. There is such a massive potential of residual psychological distress/damage for the participants... particularly if there is no on-going support or counseling to combat guilt and/or doubt of their core morals and character.

    All this under the guise of teaching society to think before blindly following (or believing) the "Man"?

  • comment
    • Author: Molace
    My biggest question is how did the show manage to get away with putting people under incredible stress that can cause psychological damage? If you do formal research with people or even animals you are required to have your work reviewed first by a human subjects committee/institutional review board before beginning. This is done to ensure that the subjects are not harmed physically or psychologically. This tv program led three of the four people to kill or at least believe they were killing. Even though they were soon told that they did not harm anyone, what kind of potential damage did that do to them?

    I also doubt the part that the subjects did not realize that the corpse they kept moving around was not real, just a elaborate dummy. The hands and arms were stuck in the same position. In the finale scene on the roof no one figured out that it was a game? The name of the charity, the slogan and the order to "push" the guy off the roof. Who in the world sits on the ledge of a building to have a smoke with their legs dangling over the side? Finally, how did the victim get the harness on when he was sitting on the ledge of the building just before he was pushed off? No one noticed that?
  • comment
    • Author: Lemana
    As a social conditioning experiment, I found this very interesting! As a human mental health experiment, I truly hope they were plants.

    Seriously disturbing, yet very compelling.
  • comment
    • Author: Iraraeal
    This guy shouldn't be broadcasted by Netflix for basically threatening people to kill a human being. If a psychologist would propose this to the Ethics Committee, they would be fired immediately. It's just outrageous, if it's real.
  • comment
    • Author: Bralore
    It says the subjects are unaware of the experiment. The real hope is that us, the audience, are unaware they actually are. If the subjects really were unaware, the experiment would end pretty quickly and there wouldn't be a show and so obviously, no money to be made. In fact this is quite an insult to the audience to take us for such fools that people really can be gullible and compliant to THAT extent. Sure, to some level we are, but not to that extent. The moment the ambulance wasn't called is the moment I'm sure a vast majority of us would take action. Stop taking people for fools Derren.
  • comment
    • Author: Zacki
    To be honest, I was sucked into this very quickly, it really grips you for about 20 mins but from then on its just like a bad panto show. Those people invited to take part are smart people and for them not to click that all this was set up is unbelievable. The acting gets worse and worse and the climax is just terrible. As if something like this would ever happen in real life. A man has a heart attack, you call an ambulance, simple as, not, ohhhh lets hide the body quick. Cmon.... ...get real. This was my first time watching a Derren Brown show and I can safely last. I would give this a 0/10 but iMDb says I atleast have to give it 1..
  • comment
    • Author: Уou ll never walk alone
    Derren Brown is incredible at what he does. I am a fan of pretty much anything he has done. This feature is very interesting and entertaining. My only real criticism is that there isn't much of Derren performing his own illusions. He obviously designed the experiment and keeps it on the right track. His job in this is mostly limited to presenting and narrating. You don't really get to see him perform very much. For this reason, I would not say it is his best release. However, the concept of the experiment is very interesting and it is executed very well. He basically figured out a way to do 'Weekend At Bernie's' in real life, which is hilarious. Not only that, he even named the character Bernie and made him wear sunglasses. None of the participants noticed which made it even funnier. This really is very entertaining. Derren is the best.
  • comment
    • Author: Fani
    Bad actors and slappy story, it looks fake from the beginning, it has some true tricks too make it believable but it doesn't succeeded.
  • comment
    • Author: Bearus
    Assuming that all four participants were not actors but unwilling participants - though they did consent to appear in Brown's next documentary, but we're told they're no longer chosen - this film was so insanely unethical that I cannot believe this program was shown on my Netflix feed! This type of social experiment is reminiscent of 1960s Milgram's Obedience to Authority experiments which were NEVER replicated due to ethics concerns! These four participants face a likelihood of developing severe PTSD and other trauma-related mental health and physical consequences! Where were licensed mental health professionals? Why weren't any psychological evaluations done of the participants before and after this "experiment"? How can Netflix put this up on their streaming platform and believe this is an ethically appropriate film to show millions of audiences??? I'm just so shocked and appalled by this film!
  • comment
    • Author: Dagdardana
    This is not entertainment, it is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Step by step you see the victim pushed into compliance against their better judgment and morals. It is deeply disturbing and highly unethical. For the 3 victims who actually pushed a defenceless man off a building because they were manipulated into feeling there was no other option - they will be scarred for life by this. Shame on you, Derren Brown, for pretending that you are doing science when you are really making entertainment out of torturing these excessively agreeable (compliant) victims until they are like cornered rats.
  • comment
    • Author: Armin
    It's interesting how many people will believe this is actually true... I try but I can't.
  • comment
    • Author: sunrise bird
    I don't know how Netflix can claim this is 'Netflix Original' content.

    This is actually a documentary called 'Pushed to the Edge' that was produced by Channel 4 in 2016.

    Total shambles that Netflix are allowed rename the programme and release it as their own original content.

    Leaving a 1 star review purely for this reason, the documentary itself was great. Shame on you Netflix.
  • comment
    • Author: Adaly
    This was shown on Channel Four in 2016... poor Netflix play :/
  • comment
    • Author: in waiting
    Episodes like White Bear (2013) and White Christmas (2014) of Black Mirror (2011) portray a dystopian society in which people convicted of crimes are punished by harsh methods, tt7924808 is a kinda of a similar idea for an episode where people who end up "pushing" are prosecuted to ensure the public safety.
  • comment
    • Author: Bil
    I have always been on the fence of Darren browns experiments, but this one was amazing. From start to finish it had me gripped. I found the show awkward, in a good way, to watch and was on edge. Genuinely give me goosebumps towards the "push". It just shows how many normal people can be easily mislead and pressured into doing things they never normally would.

    It gives you a understanding of how people and groups like ISIS can manipulate and brainwash ordinary people into doing hurrendous acts. (ISIS are not involved in this btw).

    At the start I was convinced that you couldn't make someone do something against there beliefs via peer pressure and manipulation. But boy was I wrong.

    A genuine must watch.
  • comment
    • Author: Gugrel
    The popular British illusionist and mentalist has always made great television shows and specials, he is so clever influencing his subjects and audiences, and this special (with almost a purpose) was no exception. Derren Brown presents this one-off special which sees whether one member of the public can be influenced, or coerced, without their knowledge that they are being filmed or manipulated, into pushing someone off a roof to their apparent death. The concept is that people were auditioned to take part in the Derren Brown experiment, only those that were susceptible to follow what others were doing or unknowingly following a pattern, if not order, were chosen for the experiment, they chose four final candidates. Chris Kingston was the candidate chosen for the final programme, without his knowledge, the other three people chosen from the auditions and their actions are shown in small part later. Basically Chris is attending an event for a fictional charity called "Push", all people at the event are actors, one actor playing a wealthy charity donor, Chris follows his small requests, this will build up to see how susceptible he is to follow tougher decisions. The big challenge is when the fake charity donor has a heart attack, and he is apparently dead, in fact the corpse is a life-size body created by a highly skilled special effects team, creating a highly convincing body, Chris is made by the fake director to hide the body and take the place of the donor. The drama builds up as the fake event goers get close to finding the body, and Chris is pressured into continuing to go along with whatever he is told, but he is obviously wanting to do the right thing. Finally it comes to the biggest challenge, the fake donor is in fact alive and on the roof ranting that he will tell the police of their actions, Chris is with a number of people discussing what will happen to the charity and themselves if the donor speaks out, and Chris has to decide if he will push the man off the roof to stop any consequences occurring. In the end, Chris refuses to do so, and this is when Derren Brown finally reveals himself, and that the whole thing was a social and psychological experiment, the other three finalists on the other hand did go ahead and did what most people would do, after all they were put through, and push the man off the building. But this experiment was not to see who would push the man off the building and who was easiest to influence, it was essentially to show the audience watching that not everyone has to follow order, not everyone has to do what they are told if it breaks with their morals or social conformity, people can make a change. To be honest, I was only fairly interested by the final message of the programme, I was just gripped to see how far the innocent ordinary bloke would be pushed with the highly entertaining difficult circumstances and situations he is put through, it made laugh and cringe in equal measure, a highly watchable television show. Very good!
  • comment
    • Author: Yozshubei
    The movie is well made and very convincing, however, the main premise, that the final killing was made under social pressure, is very questionable. Yes, up to that final point the subject was led by social pressure. But the final step, pushing the person down from the building to his death, was pure blackmail, and was made not due to the pressure by an authority figure, but as a step to avoid responsibility and possibly jail time for the mistakes and misdeeds made at all the prior steps. So while it's probably no less important, still it demonstrates how many people are ready to kill someone else not in order to conform to the authority or society, but simply in order to better themselves. Entirely different motivation.
  • comment
    • Author: Scoreboard Bleeding
    Hey, maybe this is an interesting experiment, maybe it makes an interesting movie (It was an enjoyable watch) but this event is TRAUMATIZING to those involved.

    Assume that it is all real, running this experiment is questionable at best, but where was the psychologist on stand by after? Was any physiological support offered to the participants? Did the participants get an opportunity to talk to a trauma specialist right after the experiment ended? Vsause (YouTuber) ran an experiment in a similar vain. He had proper support for the participants after the experiment. This show did not or failed to show they took proper precautions. For this reason, it gets one star

    PS: Watch the Vsauce video, it is very intresting
  • comment
    • Author: Juce
    While the ethics of this "experiment" are certainly questionable, it's still tremendously entertaining for outside viewers. By the end, my friend and I were both on the edge of our seats, hands trembling, as we awaited the climax. My only complaint was that some aspects of it were explained by the narrator a little too late (one instance being at least 15 minutes after the initial showing of the trick), but it didn't make the show any less exciting.
  • comment
    • Author: NiceOne
    I see many people questioning it's reality and how this affects the contestants psychologically. But i assure everyone that an episode of this scale will not cause any psychological trauma as long as they know it's not real.
  • Credited cast:
    Ben Adams Ben Adams
    Derren Brown Derren Brown - Himself
    Tom Carter Tom Carter - Tom
    Heather Ashley Chase Heather Ashley Chase - Herself
    Nicola Dewdney Nicola Dewdney - Nicky Wright
    Polly Eachus Polly Eachus - Gizzi
    Matt Lucas Matt Lucas - Himself
    Eugene Washington Eugene Washington - Eugene
    Robbie Williams Robbie Williams - Himself
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