Compliance is a critically-acclaimed indie film loosely based on actual events that took place in the US. A person prank calls a business under the guise of a law enforcement officer and somehow talks the supervisors into interrogating and ultimately molesting a young employee. The movie is labeled as crime, thriller and drama, with some movie outlets even listing it as horror. I say horror. Let’s start off this review by watching the trailer above.
Director Craig Zobel’s little indie starts off as a slow burn in my opinion. Overwhelmed shift manager Sandra — played by Anne Dowde — gets a call from a supposed police officer who claims an employee in her company has stolen from a customer. Sounding very authoritative, the fake officer manages to talk her into doing unspeakable acts against underling Becky, who is played Pretty Little Liar’s Dreama Walker.
Dowde’s performance in this dark controversial movie was superbly done and won her multiple awards. Also spectacular was Walker in her portrayal of Becky. I watch Pretty Little Liars, but her character in the show is neither here nor there. In Compliance, her versatility as an actress shines, proving to her critics that she is more than just a pretty face.
The movie is interesting in the way it shows how we connect as humans. For instance, it seemed to me that Sandra had underlying jealousy issues with the younger and more attractive Becky, likely making it easier for her to carry out the officer’s sick commands. The poor hamburger flipper is literally humiliated and molested by multiple people. In fact, a warning is in order: the things done to her are very sexually graphic.
But as much as I liked Compliance, I was left scratching my head:
- When had a police officer ever been known to phone a business and accuse an employee of theft without making physical appearance?
- Who in their right mind would strip search an employee under their supervision?
- Why did it take so long for someone to realize something was seriously wrong with what was going on?
Though she didn’t initiate it, Sandra is who I blame for Becky’s humiliation. How gullible must a person be to be talked into committing such heinous acts by some random pervert? Despite some of the almost unbelievable plot pieces (remember, the movie is based on actual events that took place in a number of U.S. cities), Compliance is so well-directed and acted that it really made me question humanity.
At the risk of sounding perverted and twisted, I loved Compliance. There is so much human interaction, yet no one person does the right thing. No one questions motives. It’s raw and gritty, which goes to show that blood, guts or gore are not needed for a movie to be horrific. I dare you to watch this movie to see if you can stomach the graphic and chilling content. After you watch it once, see if you can watch it again.
Compliance gets an 8 out of 10 from me. Make sure to check out all our other movie reviews.