Sunday, September 9, 2012

Day 280 - Compliance


What would you do if someone called you at work and told you he was a police officer?  If it sounded legit, would you do what he said?  And how far would you go doing something that just walks that line between being a good citizen and blind obedience?  Those are the questions this film asks, and how it goes about doing it just seems absurd, except for a couple of things. 1). The film is incredibly well-acted.  Ann Dowd, as Sandra, the restaurant manager, does such a good job as someone who's obviously in something that's over her head, and it's during an incredibly busy time, so you see her trying to keep juggling all these things, and you know it's all just going to go south.  2). The film is based off actual events.  Sure, what happens in the film is dramatized, but it makes the film just believable enough that you accept what's going on.
The basic plot is this: At a fast food restaurant on a busy Friday, a cop calls the manager and tells her that one of her employees stole money from a customer's purse.  After taking her in the back, the cop says that the choice is either the employee is strip-searched or taken to jail.  And things simply escalate from there.
When I was in college, one of the film classes I had showed a film called Sweet Movie.  The professor told the class that if any of them wanted to leave at any time due to the content of the film, it would be fine.  I stuck it out (to simply be able to tell people that this is one of my bottom five films of all time), but a number of people took him up on that.  When I saw Children of God, at a certain scene, an audience member literally ran out of the theater.  During Happiness there was a steady stream of walkouts as the film went on.  The Aristocrats sent out a number of people in the first 15 minutes (after that, the rest of us knew what we were in for).  And more recently, a father grabbed his clan of young 'uns when he realized The Campaign was rated "R" for a reason.  One of the reasons I wanted to see Compliance was because people apparently weren't able to stick it out through the whole film.  I always like to see what gets someone to think to themselves, "I spent some money on a movie, but it's not worth it to stay."  At about the one hour mark in this film, the tension ratchets up to a fantastic level, and even more bad things happen.  It was then that I saw something I have never seen before - a couple was sitting in front of me, and the lady said something to the guy, got up, left, and never came back.  He stayed, though.  That was odd.
But any movie that is this gripping and suspenseful is definitely worth staying to the end.  And the end of the film really makes the movie.  It does what it's supposed to do - give the viewer closure and satisfaction.  You may still feel like a creep (because that's what the film wants you to feel), but at least there's no indecision.


  1. I really liked this film a lot. When I was watching it, I was sure that the filmmakers must have taken liberties with the facts of the case. No way could something like this have gone as far as it goes. Then I looked up the real case online, and found that they really didn't change a thing besides the names and locations. That people are so willing to acquiesce to authority, or perceived authority, is a pretty scary thing.

    1. I didn't go as far to look up the original case, but I had the feeling that not much had been changed. The idea of someone in "authority" is a strong one to dismiss (especially for a 19 year old).
      I liked the film a lot, too. I also really like the fact that it doesn't leave you when the movie is over.