Dave’s 3-Word Review
Powerful and Unsettling
Too often, we are offered a film that is based on a true story or true events that is so loosely based on the “truth” that it really doesn’t matter. Other times, the true story in question is such a powerful and odd one that removing from what really happened would remove from the film itself. “Compliance” is one such film, where the details involved are so out of the ordinary that you wouldn’t think them to be true, that maybe we are smarter than that as human beings.
Becky (Dreama Walker) is a regular girl working for a fast-food restaurant known as ChickWich. She is just trying to get by like everyone else. She is good friends with everyone that works there, except for Sandra (Ann Dowd), her manager, who suspects her of leaving the freezer open the night before. When Sandra gets a call from a police officer known as Officer Daniels (Pat Healy), he lets her know that Becky is being investigated of theft from an accusation made by a customer. Officer Daniels instructs Sandra to strip search Becky, and leave her clothes in her car for them to inspect later when they were done inspecting her house. Here’s the thing: It is a prank call.
Because it was an extremely busy day at work, Officer Daniels instructed Sandra to get to work, and leave a male in charge of watching the suspect. She complies, and this is where it gets tense. Officer Daniels continues to instruct different males to sexually assault Becky because she is being disobedient, and they do, not wanting to get in trouble with the law. All of this happening behind Sandra’s back, who just thinks they are guarding her.
This film is incredibly captivating, and the level of awkward tension in it is mind-blowing. If this were any other film, it would start to delve into the category of going too-far and being unbelievable. However, this is a true story, and if you took the time to research the true events behind everything, you would realize that this film captured what truly happened extremely well, and it is inconceivable to think that over 70 almost identical situations took place around our country.
There is not a single performance in the film that lacked. You can tell the actors as well as the characters were both extremely uncomfortable with everything, and presenting it in such a way that they did in turn makes the audience uncomfortable. You will love to hate this movie, because there is no way you can look away, it is thrilling, it is captivating, and it is beyond belief. If ever you wanted a film to evoke such an emotional response from you, this would be it. It shows just how imprisoned we are when offered ultimatums. Caught up in the midst of a busy day at work and the unsettling nature of the strip search, they didn’t even think to double check the supposed cop’s credibility.
One thing, this was not man versus man, self, or nature. Unless by nature you are referring to the nature of the wickedness of a man’s heart. It’s hard to sense the direction of the film. As a viewer, we have to know at some point they will have to figure out the caller isn’t who he says he is, but the journey to the end is brilliant. It continues to build unrelenting tension until finally, it closes, leaving the audience something to think about.
“Compliance” is not a film to see if you are offended by nudity. There is a mild amount of nudity used in a disturbing manner, so if you think that will distract you, this may not be a movie for you. Instead, the film tries to evoke its audience to be appalled at the inhumanity and cruelty that one man is willing to cause just for kicks. If you are willing to be sickened by the dark nature of humanity, then “Compliance” is right for you.
Check it out when it comes to Blu-Ray and DVD on Jan. 8!