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‘Compliance’ (2012) review

By on Nov 4, 2012 in Reviews | 0 comments

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Directed by: Craig Zobel
Cast: Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, Pat Healy

Compliance premiered at Sundance Film Festival and has been gathering acclaim from critics ever since its public release in August this year. This low-budget indie film from Craig Zobel is based on real life events called ‘strip search prank call’ scams. What used to happen is that managers in fast-food restaurants, often ones located in small towns, used to get a call from a person claiming to be from the police. The impersonator on the phone would then mention the name of a specific employee, often young teenage girls working at the restaurant, and accuse them of petty theft. This person would then convince the restaurant managers to strip search the employee. Over a decade, more than 70 such incidents were reported until the arrest of the perpetrator in 2004.

This film is based on the events of Bullitt county McDonald’s case. Dreama Walker plays Becky, a young female employee at a fast-food restaurant called ChickWich, where her manager Sandra (played by Ann Dowd) gets a phone call from a police officer. Over the period of hours, the caller convinces the manager, as well as other employees to strip Becky of all her clothes – and even convinces Sandra’s fiancĂ© to sexually assault Becky.

Compliance is horrifying because it’s hard to imagine how easily people were manipulated into doing such thing unquestioningly. It reminded me of the famous Stanford prison experiment, how the appearance of authority could make people do terrible things. This film is sure to leave you questioning: what would other people do in the same situation.

Rating: 9 / 10

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