Wednesday, September 12, 2012


On a morning which has already seen a food spoilage totaling $15,000 dollars in damage, the manager of an Ohio fast food chain receives a phone call from a caller claiming to an officer of the law, and asserting that one of the restaurant's employees has stolen money from a customer's purse. On the orders of the officer, who is clearly a prank caller, the manager escorts the accused to the stockroom where she is then subjected to a series of increasingly invasive humiliations, beginning with a basic person search and culminating in a sexual assault. Based on a shocking score of incidents, Craig Zobel's "Compliance" is a frightening precautionary tale of blind obedience, not only to law enforcement, but authority in general. Zobel does an excellent job staging and directing his picture, and his cast is also in fine form, particularly Ann Dowd as the pathetic manager, and Pat Healy as the morally vacuous caller. I did have some issues with the film's construction. While much of the picture's early scenes bear an eerie believability, many of the latter ones are beyond ludicrous, while Zobel hides behind the guise of "Inspired by True Events." I really wasn't sure what to think when walking out of "Compliance." I am not the kind of person who requires happy endings and resists morbidity in the movies but, while this film is well-made, nicely acted, and had me thinking about it long afterwards, it left me feeling empty and with no real reason to recommend seeing it.