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"Compliance" Review

Imagine you're a manager of a fast food restaurant. Got it? Now a man calls claiming to be a police officer who has received a complaint that a cashier has stolen money from a customers purse and he wants you to strip search the girl to see if she's got the money on her. What do you do? This is the maddening premise of Compliance, a movie which will have you screaming at your TV wondering how the effing hell these people could be so stupid and what are the filmmakers trying to pull here because there is no way this could really happen.

Except it did. It's based on a real incident and unlike many movies "inspired by a true story" it is pretty much what happened when a prankster (to put it mildly) called a Kentucky McDonald's in 2004 and subjected an innocent girl to hours of sexual degradation.

Ann Doyd is the manager who is set up in the film as being a little incompetent and disrespected by her employees. Dreama Walker (from Don't Trust the B**** in Apt. 23; she the one who isn't Krysten Ritter) is the cashier who can't believe what's happening to her, but as she is stripped bare it's impossible to wonder why the effing eff she decided to submit to the demands of this voice on the phone rather than call his bluff and go to jail to prove her innocence.

Throughout the movie, my girlfriend was yelling at me that this wasn't possible and even when I paused to check Wikipedia and saw this was playing the story straight, she was still upset. The major failing of Compliance is that it never attempts to explain the inexplicable behavior of so many people, including the victim. If you read the linked story above, you pretty much know everything the movie will show you but will have as little insight. It also feels like a 60-minute story stretched out to 90 minutes and thus slips a bit past "causing skeevy discomfort" into "needless padding" territory.

It's considered rude and wrong to "blame the victim" but there are several points where anyone with a pair of working neurons chould have stopped matters dead by asking, "You want me to do WHAT?!? How about you sending a squad car over to get me?" I get that the power of authority compels people to obey blindly, but it's not like someone showed up dressed in a cop costume and pulled this stunt; it was a VOICE ON THE TELEPHONE! The appalling result of the investigation of this incident is also omitted for no good reason. (The creep got away with it.)

Score: 6/10. Catch it on cable.


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