ANN DOWD DREAMA WALKER PAT HEALY
Compliance might not be one of the most cinematic films of the year and it will certainly suffer a loss of mainstream appeal because it's just a small independent film. However, I believe this is a film every American should see. Compliance will make you question yourself, question people you know, and ask the shocking question of how anyone could be so gullible. We live in a world where in nearly every aspect of our lives we are told what to do; authority reigns over us and when we are given a command, most of us comply. This is the almost unbelievable true story of a prank call to the right person who followed the every instruction of the caller, leading various people to do horrible things to a young girl.
It was a busy Friday evening at a local fast food restaurant in rural Ohio. Sandra (Dowd) is the manager of the Chick Which and, while low on staff, explained to her employees the stress and importance of the evening. Sandra received a call from officer Daniel (Healy), who informs her that Becky (Walker), who takes the orders in the front of the store, has stolen from a customer. The officer instructs Sandra to take Becky to the back office, strip search her, and keep her there until the police arrive. Hours go by as Sandra and various other employees keep watch over a naked but compliant Becky while business in the front of the restaurant is booming.
The most important concept to keep in mind is that not only is this a true story based on the surveillance camera recovered from the store, but that this had happened over 70 times all across the country. It's mind blowing that it takes five different people learning of this situation before someone says something is wrong here. The story, on one hand, is so frustrating because, looking in from the outside, we as the viewer say we would never do that. However, I know and I am sure you do, too, people who would also fall for such a prank or a crime.
Dowd, who has received praise since the film opened this past summer in the film festivals, just won the National Board of Review’s best supporting actress honor. Dowd is very good and vividly memorable as Sandra, who is the real gas to the fire that escalates into this horrible ordeal. Dowd plays this role brilliantly and someone I know in a retail situation came to mind as I am sure will be the case for everyone. Compliance will make some viewers so mad they will turn it off saying they don’t believe this, and I certainly felt that way, even saying “this is stupid” out loud, but the fact that this happened multiple times makes this important.
Final Thought – The kind of film that sparks the best debates and conversation.
Grade B+ By: Dustin Chase