Directed and written by Craig Zobel
I had the house to myself Sunday afternoon and I wanted to watch a movie that I had no intention of reviewing; and so I queued up Compliance from my Netflix watch list. Let me say at this point that it’s hilarious how what you plan to do and what you actually do are two different things. Its Wednesday morning 3:52 A.M. and I still can’t stop thinking about Compliance. I keep asking myself the same questions over and over; would someone be that gullible? No one would actually fall for something like this, would they? Oh, but they did. For those of you who have seen Compliance and stuck it out to the end you’ll know that it happened more than 70 times in 30 different states.
It’s a busy Friday night at Chickwich, a fast food chicken sandwich restaurant as generic as they come. The manager, Sandra (Ann Dowd, Side Effects, Marley & Me) is already distressed over the freezer having been left open and food being wasted. They’re short on pickles and bacon and there may be a secret shopper in the restaurant. Got the picture? Good. It is during this time that Sandra receives a call from Officer Daniels (Pat Healy, Magnolia, The Innkeepers). Officer Daniels claims that he has the regional manager on the other line. He also claims that a woman says that an employee of the restaurant stole money from her purse when she was in line to order. Daniels describes Becky (Dreama Walker, Gran Torino, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23) and she is pulled from her station and brought into the office. It is at this point that I will tell you that Officer Daniels is no more a cop than I am a Chippendale’s dancer. That’s not a spoiler; you’re made aware of this fact fairly early in the film. Officer Daniels uses a mixture of flattery (“Wow Sandra, you are making my job so much easier.”) and intimidation (“I am an officer of the law, Becky. You address me as either ‘Officer’ or ‘Sir’. Do you understand me?”) and persuades Sandra, Becky and more importantly Sandra’s fiancée Van (Bill Camp, Lincoln, Tamara Drewe) to meet his increasingly disturbing demands. Check Becky’s purse. Check her pockets. Strip search her. Take her clothes. Do you see where I’m going with this? Meanwhile, outside the office life goes on as people stuff their faces in total oblivion.
Would a person be that gullible, that stupid? Would someone not question the, again, increasingly disturbing demands of the caller? Some people would, yes. But unless our father is John Gotti and our mother Bonnie Parker it is ingrained in us from an early age to respect and obey authority. ‘The man in blue is a friend to you.’ I know that when I encounter a police officer I get nervous. I know that I’ve done nothing wrong; but that doesn’t matter, I still feel guilty. There is never a moment in Compliance that the caller receives a sexual thrill from any of this; even near the end and the film’s most disturbing moments. It’s all about control to him. He has it and we don’t. End of story.
Well, so much for watching a movie that I had no intention of reviewing. Compliance has stuck with me like no other film has done in a long time. For that alone it deserves a few words.
NO TRIVIA FOR THIS FILM
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Posted on 10/02/2013, in Compliance and tagged Ann Dowd, Becky, COMPLIANCE, Craig Zobel, daniel, Dreama Walker, Fast food restaurant, Pat Healy, Recreation, Sandra, Sundance Film Festival, United States. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.