Compliance (2012) starring Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, Pat Healy, Philip Ettinger, Ashlie Atkinson, Bill Camp directed by Craig Zobel Movie Review

Compliance (2012)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Ann Dowd in Compliance (2012)


Have you ever received a call from someone saying they are from such and such an organization who asks you to confirm certain details? Did you? The sad thing is that scenario is not uncommon especially for those who are plagued with debt problems and find themselves vulnerable and harassed by calls from debt companies where without thinking you can confirm details without questioning who you are on the phone to. It is a similar scenario which is at the heart of "Compliance" where a busy fast food manager receives a call from someone claiming to be a policeman and without questioning does what she is told because the man on the line speaks with such authority.

As manager of a fast food restaurant Sandra (Ann Dowd) has a lot on her plate, not only did someone leave the freezer door open costing thousands of dollars of food to spoil but she is down a member of staff and is expecting a secret shopper visit sometime that day. So when she receives a call from someone calling themselves Officer Daniels (Pat Healy) reporting that a complaint has been made against a member of staff who has stolen something from a customer she does what the man says. Taking the employee Becky (Dreama Walker) into a back room she questions her under the command of Officer Daniels who eventually asks Sandra to strip search her completely unaware the man on the end of the line is a prank caller.

Dreama Walker in Compliance (2012)

Now I will admit as I watched "Compliance" I was left gob smacked by what I was watching because whilst aware of how easy it is for people to be duped by someone calling saying they are someone in authority what goes on seems unbelievable. Yet "Compliance" is not fabricated it is based on something which actually happened, just do an internet search for "Strip search phone call scam" and you will discover the unbelievable true story and learn how the one this is based on was not the only one.

Now the interesting thing about "Compliance" is not so much the outrageousness of what we witness as Becky is basically humiliated as she has to strip or how the guy on the end of the phone seems such an average Joe but how this makes you feel. As I said I was left feeling gob smacked by something like this could happen and I admit that I had the feeling that no way could I be so gullible to follow the orders of just a voice on the end of the phone. But then I wondered well would I be, would I in the heat of the moment in the workplace trying to deal with various stresses have the calmness to question what was going on or just take it that the guy is a cop like he says he is.

And that to be honest is about it "Compliance" whilst dramatizing the events is a movie which is more about how it makes you feel. Having said that the performances are uniformally solid through out with Ann Dowd doing a fantastic job of portraying a woman who is stressed at work and is honest enough to take a man saying he is a cop is who he says he is.

What this all boils down to is that "Compliance" is a fascinating movie because of the psychological aspect of how it makes you feel rather than what actually happens.