Compliance (2012) Directed by Craig Zobel. With Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker and Pat Healy.
Set almost entirely within the confines of a fast food outlet, Craig Zobel’s ‘Compliance’ tells the story of a malicious prank call made by a member of the public posing as a police officer, accusing a young female employee of a theft.
Shot in documentary style, the film professes to be based on true events although after some light research, I would add, ‘vaguely based on true events’. After a brief introduction to the cast, it’s not long before the main thrust of the plot is upon us and the confusion begins to reign. Unfortunately, it’s not long after this that the film also begins to crumble under the weight of it’s own idea.
At times, it’s insulting to your intelligence to believe that the characters in the film could be made to do the things they do. The initial confusion is acceptable, but the way things progress is often quite silly. Do you ever see films in which characters – for no apparent reason, avoid saying the things that you know in real life they’d say first? Well, there’s a lot of that in Compliance. A lot. So much that it derails the film and sacks of it nearly all of it’s ‘based on true events’ credibility. Some of the performances shine, Dreama Walker is brave in a central role and Ann Dowd is excellentm, but they are left hanging out to dry by an ill conceived screenplay that loses it’s way far to early on. Before the end comes, you might already have hung-up on this one. 2/5
This film made me seethingly angry at just about all the characters, but I was actually under the impression that the plot (which seems to strain credulity to the extreme) was very close to the way things actually went down. The film, however, made me feel sick to my stomach and pissed the frick off for it’s entire duration. That said, the actors, especially Ann Dowd and Pat Healy (as ‘Officer’ Daniels) did a decent job.
Vaguely true? The events of the movie are a very literal representation of what actually happened. What outrages and horrifies us is that we think no one would do these things but in fact they actually did.