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 Compliance 

What grade would you give this film?
A 50%  50%  [ 2 ]
B 25%  25%  [ 1 ]
C 25%  25%  [ 1 ]
D 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
F 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 4

 Compliance 
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loyalfromlondon
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Post Compliance
Compliance

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Compliance is a 2012 American drama film written and directed by Craig Zobel, and starring Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, and Pat Healy. The plot focuses on a prank caller who pretends to be a police officer and convinces the manager of a fast food restaurant that one of her employees committed a crime. It is based on the strip search prank call scam and more specifically inspired by the Bullitt McDonald's case.

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Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:55 pm
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Post Re: Compliance
The disturbing Sundance drama Compliance could have numerous other names. Dominance, perhaps, or Obedience. Or Imbecility. The 90-minute film is based on a true-crime story in which a phone conversation with an insinuating and stern individual claiming to be a policeman resulted in a misguided restaurant supervisor and later her fiance detaining, searching, and violating a female employee for over three intense hours. At least 70 such incidents were reported in 30 states over several years.

Anchored by convincing performances and a strong sense of time and place, the film focuses on the details and mechanics of the fraud: the power and influence of an authoritative voice (even a false one), for instance, or the way a confidence artist can draw information from his or her target and then use this information to detail and strengthen the core deception. It is this fascination with psychological gamesmanship which elevates the picture, which may have otherwise played only as a condescending see-how-easy-the-fast-food-rubes-fell-for-it torture-porn exercise.

B+

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Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:36 pm
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Post Re: Compliance
I know it is often wise to leave the menace or threat obscured and mysterious, but in this case, I "enjoyed" seeing the caller. Pat Healy gives a great performance. I love his malevolent, even-I-never-thought-of-this smile when the fiance says where he will put the phone during the punishment scene.

The most thinly conceived character is, in my opinion, definitely the victim herself. It does often feel as if this is only the supervisor's story. I believe the supervisor's compliance with the "police," but the film does not 100 percent sell why the girl is never more proactive in arguing her case and rejecting the brutal and invasive treatment.

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Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:09 am
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Post Re: Compliance
The fact that this really happened is mind-boggling.


Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:20 am
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Post Re: Compliance
Ok, so this film hit me pretty hard. Like it truly disturbed me on a level that not many films have before. I felt wrong for watching film at times. So I'm gonna rant on my view of it all...

I can understand how you would find it hard to believe people can be that stupid Magnus. I see it in a truly different and horrifying sense though. The notion that this part of America - the fast-food working, under-educated, low-class - can be so uninformed and ignorant of their basic rights and what is right and wrong. I wouldn't necessarily call it stupidity. In that this happened 70 different times across 30 different states shows that this level of intellect is found all over. There are people that go through life, just making a living, not giving a shit about the world around them, that when they are forced into unknown situations, they sincerely don't know how to act. Almost child-like.

In Sandra's case, she has worked her life to become this authority figure at the Chickwich. She feels this is as high and good as it gets and it pisses her of that her employees don't respect her. So when she gets a call from the "officer" and when he says he has her district manager on the other line, this obviously must be real, because the district manager is the highest form of authority to her. And with the "police" getting an ok from him to do whatever is necessary, that is all she needs to know. She doesn't think about what is right or wrong, but just goes with the assumption that this is what must happen. It like a set of blinders were put on her. Its this ignorance of not being able to see beyond her simple life that starts this horrible chain of events.

Sure there is the pervert on the other end manipulating all of them, but there are those kinds of people. That is just how it is. It is her not being able to identify that something is wrong with what the "officer" is having her do is the horrifying part. Again, I wouldn't call it stupidity, just an ill-informed view of authority and right and wrong.

As for Becky, although she is essentially a grownup, she is still very naive of the world. Her miserable job at the Chickwhich is her life. She complains to the other employees how a change in schedule always ruins her days off because all she wants to do is sleep. This is her existence. So even though she has contempt for her closest authority, Sandra, she still follows her directions with only slight protest. In dealing with the "officer" she says she has no criminal record, so she has never dealt with the police as an authority figure before. She only knows what she has seen in movies or TV I'm guessing. So when supposedly dealing with them in person, she only knows that what they say must be true. Given the option of jail or the strip-search, she agrees to the strip-search because jail would mean getting fired and the end of her existence. This is only way she sees it. So she figures if she can just get through all of this, she can hopefully go back to her simple life with little consequence. Again, it is an uniformed, narrow, and ignorant view of life and authority that leads her to make these horribly embarrassing and demoralizing decisions.

So while some might just find this ridiculous because of how stupid these people are, I see it as a horrifying picture of how a section of our population are living their life not knowing the rights that makes living in this country so great. This is even more disturbing to me than the fact there are people out there who purposefully take advantage of people like this because they know they can.

The end interview with Sandra really does a great job of summing it up too. She truly feels like she is the victim. She does not want to take responsibility for what happened because how was she supposed to know the guy wasn't an actual officer? With her knowledge, she honestly could not tell this was not real. And instead of wanting to take responsibility for part of what happened, she tries to change the subject of the interview and laughingly shrugs off the event. It all sucks, but why blame her for what she didn't know? Hell, she gets to be on TV now! She is famous! Life is the best its ever been for her. Becky who?

Alright, done. Anyone have any comments or other viewpoints on all of this?


Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:04 am
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Post Re: Compliance
Viper Rodgers wrote:
The notion that this part of America - the fast-food working, under-educated, low-class - can be so uninformed and ignorant of their basic rights and what is right and wrong.

I almost fish this film wasn't made because of this type of sentiment, which I have seen expressed in various forms since the film's premiere at Sundance.

Lots of people fall for a lot. Just consider the Holocaust. In most cases, slaves don't rebel. They bow their heads and submit to fates engineered by others. This human trait is not unique to fast-food employees.

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Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:55 am
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Post Re: Compliance
David wrote:
Viper Rodgers wrote:
The notion that this part of America - the fast-food working, under-educated, low-class - can be so uninformed and ignorant of their basic rights and what is right and wrong.

I almost fish this film wasn't made because of this type of sentiment, which I have seen expressed in various forms since the film's premiere at Sundance.

Lots of people fall for a lot. Just consider the Holocaust. In most cases, slaves don't rebel. They bow their heads and submit to fates engineered by others. This human trait is not unique to fast-food employees.


I'm not singling out Fast-Food workers in general. They are just the example. I mean an entire part of the population that are this way. So I take it you don't think this is the case, David? You think it is just human nature to submit to authority in these kinds of troubling situations? I'm just clarifying, because I really would like to understand different perspectives on this.

Because I don't see the majority of modern-day Americans acting likes those seen in this movie. Sure we may be slaves to the law, but today, we are aware of the certain rights we have and when those rights are being crossed. I think many would realize what is wrong with the picture and refuse to cooperate no matter what supposed consequences there may be. Or they would put more effort into determining the validity of the situation by asking more questions.


Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:40 am
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Post Re: Compliance
Magnus wrote:
It is pretty disturbing. Mainly because the characters are sooooooo fucking retarded. It's insane that this happen multiple times.




Indeed. I have fread the story before, but seeing the film...I just thought that I'd call this unrealistic if I didn't know it happened. The police offiver at the end of the film had the most fittign reaction when he said:

"This happened more than once? You've gotta be shitting me!"

Word.

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Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:19 pm
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Post Re: Compliance
One of the most frustrating film's in recent memory. It's hard to believe this actually happened.

*****SPOILERS*****

I was pretty dumbfounded why the girl would go along with things once it got to a certain point, most notably allowing, without much protest, the fiance character to spank her. And then performing oral sex on him. Maybe she felt beaten down, but I wouldn't think she'd be so compliant.

****END SPOILERS****

Ann Dowd is terrific. At first I wouldn't have gone along with her being pushed for Supporting Actress, but she does go missing quite a bit during the second half which makes the case for supporting more easily to accept. I'd say she's more a lead than Dreama Walker, but I don't think considering her supporting is too much of a stretch. Plus, if it gets her nominated then I'm all for putting her in this category. I hope she is nominated.

Despite being difficult to watch at times this was pretty great.

8/10 (B+)

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Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:26 pm
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Post Re: Compliance
I thought this was quite well done, although there were some things I was a little iffy on. (what was with that whole minute of that cop guy driving? lol)

I can't believe the last few things with the manager's fiancee actually happened. Jesus.


Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:04 pm
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Post 
Compliance

Utterly compelling, and heart-poundingly tense. A very good film, and so well made. I can't believe that people are so stupid and fooled by a few words and an official sounding voice. This happened in 30 States, which is just crazy.

The running time of the version I watched was 1hr 21mins, so I'm guessing, as it's in China, that the rape was cut. Which is a shame because it really cut the tension. One minute they were talking, the next minute the caller was outside and his calling card was alerting him that he only has 30 seconds remaining.

It annoyed me how stupid the people were in this film. Why Becky didn't object to being searched by an employee is beyond me. Seriously, what is the worst that could have happened if she just refused? Nothing. It's a great deception, but one I just can't see myself falling for if I were in that situation. Surely everybody knows that standard police procedure is not strip search followed by a spanking followed by sucking cock, right?

Healy does give a fantastic performance. He made so many mistakes, but the dumbass fat supervisor didn't even notice, and how she gave away so much information that he used to support his deception, that was great. I'd like to see an uncut version. It's the best movie I've watched in a while.

A-

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Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:46 am
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Post Re: Compliance
Algren, I don't know if you can access Wikipedia, but if you do, find a few minutes and read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

It might explain why this incident could happen so many times.

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Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:06 am
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Post Re: Compliance
Good read, thanks. But I kind of knew all of that anyway, I just didn't have terms for it. Thanks for the link, though. :)

It's amazing really.

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Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:53 am
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Post Re: Compliance
It's quite an intense, ridiculous film. However, despite this it is intriguing and quite horrifying making for a viewing experience unlike most seen in film.


Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:56 pm
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Post Re: Compliance
Ridiculous?

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Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:47 pm
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Post Re: Compliance
Sure. The movie definitely reaches a point where I couldn't believe real people were making some certain decisions.

It's well made and well performed, but it's also boring. After the first strip search, there's really nothing left for Compliance to say. People do inhumane things under the threat of authority. Repeat 56,000 times.


Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:32 am
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Post Re: Compliance
Well acted. That's all I can really say in the film's favor.

I think the major problem with the film is that if you were aware enough to remember when this happened, what's on screen lacks any sort of punch. I remember seeing some of the footage on Nightline, and those brief edited real-life clips are way more compelling, especially since for some reason, this film lacks any desire to actually depict the worst of the crimes. I'm not saying go full out explicit, that'd be too much, but the film lacks any real teeth at the moment the movie sorely needed it.

And again maybe because I already knew the story, the movie played mostly as a dark comedy more than anything else. I was anything but horrified. The movie truly swung and missed for me here. Maybe it's because the film lacks any real point except to show how gullible people are (we didn't know that already?).

Also, the film probably could've benefited from a little insight into the caller's psyche. If you're going to show the caller at all, shouldn't we get some sort of guess on the filmmaker's part as to why the caller is doing this? The film offers nothing. There's also very little into the victims' psyche. There's a brief moment in the film before things get truly awful between Van and Becky where you think they both no longer buy that the caller is a police officer, but they both go ahead anyways. Something interesting could've been said here, but there's nothing. Either that or I'm reading into something that the film never bothers to look into.

This is about as basic and as tame a retelling of this story as you could possibly get, and when you already know the story, it's pretty much a waste of time, outside of watching three great performances from Dowd, Walker, and Healy.

*½ (C-)

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