Some movies just sneak up on you and fucking blow you away. This was the case with Compliance an incredibly tense and thought-provoking thriller. You don’t have to be in any special mood to enjoy or understand it. Compliance will simply suck you into the screen with its gripping storytelling and atmosphere. The cast did a terrific job, especially Ann Dowd. Her acting in this movie was beyond perfection, as she expertly led the rest of the actors on this nerve-wracking journey.
Also sometimes, when it says that a movie is based on true events, it actually is fucking based on true events. And to make things worse (or better) those events were a bit toned down in the movie. So, let’s talk about a setup for a movie, fuck me. I still can’t get over just how good Compliance is. It’s a phenomenal character study with a very subtle examination of the society we live in. And with a running time of just under ninety minutes, it keeps a pretty brisk pace throughout. So, I wouldn’t call it a classic drama but more of a thriller.
It all starts like any other usual day at your average fast-food joint. Workers are swamped with orders and the whole place is quite chaotic. The manager, Sandra is trying to keep it all together, but then the phone rings. She answers it. On the other side is a police officer accusing one of her workers of theft. Things start to get complicated from there.
This is all you need to know before watching Compliance. Although, I guess I should add a warning that this is quite an intense and almost traumatic experience. Perhaps as a response to this overwhelming situation, many of the viewers complained about the characters and their decision-making abilities. Firstly, keep in mind that this really happened. Secondly, thinking that something like this could never happen to you is just wrong. Anyone can crack under pressure in one way or another.
If you want to know more about this, I recommend you check out the Behavioral Panel and their videos. There’s no point gloating over their poor judgment as no matter what happened, they didn’t deserve this. The pain, stress, and trauma that these events left are very real. Think of it as a new experience, seen through the eyes and minds of some other people. I would love to delve even deeper into the themes that Compliance explores but I don’t want to spoil anything for you.
Finally, if you’re looking for more movies like this I recommend you start with the German movie Das Experiment. I mean, you could check out its American remake The Stanford Prison Experiment but I think that the original was better. Now, Experimenter takes a different approach to the same subject so you might also want to take a look at it.
P.S. After you’ve seen the movie, check out the actual events here: McDonald’s Chaos. Also, question everything and trust no one.
Director: Craig Zobel
Writer: Craig Zobel
Cast: Ann Dowd, Matt Servitto, Dreama Walker, Pat Healy, Philip Ettinger, Nikiya Mathis
Fun Facts: Ann Dowd won the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Compliance