Saturday, September 15, 2012

Compliance: Movie Review


Straight-forward approach to the realistic depravity of mankind.
“Compliance” is about how far people will go to a voice of authority. Sandra (Ann Dowd) the manager at a fast food restaurant is called by an Officer Daniels (Pat Healy) and is told to interrogate and search the young employee Becky (Dreama Walker). It’s yet another example of the Milgram experiment in real life. The drama is not just based on one true event, but a true event that occurred 70 times. 2012

Directed by: Craig Zobel

Screenplay by: Craig Zobel

Starring: Ann Dowd, and Dreama Walker

Ann Dowd in COMPLIANCE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
It’s interesting from the start as you try and figure out who deserves our sympathies and who you actually sympathize with. The character of Sandra is a mixed bag for the first twenty minutes during which you would like to think that everyone is a victim. But of course that’s not true. I really liked fellow employees Kevin (Philip Ettinger) and Martie (Ashlie Atkinson) but even they didn’t speak up as early as one would hope.

Dreama Walker in COMPLIANCE,
a Magnolia Pictures release.
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
Sandra’s brazen and over-bearing attitude would generally make her fiancé-to-be more benign, but the role that he was going to play in this twisted story wasn’t clear until the end. It might have been easier to take if we knew how depraved he was from the get-go.

I feel like being vague about this film is the best approach as not knowing anything that will happen will make it more interesting, more shocking, more affecting. But that still doesn’t explain the many people that walked out during all parts of the film. If they knew what to expect then there’s no reason to go in the first place, if they didn’t know what to expect, then how come they weren’t glued to their seats trying to figure out what everybody’s next move is going to be?

“Compliance” is told very straight-forward, basically in real-time, and exactly as the real-life events unfolded. That’s definitely the best way to tell such a story because otherwise it would be discredited for being too unrealistic.