Movie Review: Compliance (2012)

Compliance is real fact based film written and directed by debuting filmmaker Craig Zobel.
A restaurant manager Sandra (Ann Dowd) gets a police call about the thieving of customer's money by one of the workers (Becky) and she is guided to inspect the thief before the office comes. After general and well-known procedures he (the policemen) tries to psychologically influence all the people involved in those procedures by encouragement of violence towards Becky.
All in all the film was OK, one of those that is worth of seeing once. However I hated most part of it, starting with the screenplay that looked too unreal, despite describing real life events.

Imagine you get a call from police department and he asks you to examine one of your co-workers as long as she is suspect in stealing money. Any person would definitely obey the caller. However any reasonable person should guess that there is something wrong when the "policeman" tends you to sexual intercourse with suspected girl. We all know that is against the law. Surprisingly to me, each character was stupid enough to fulfill every single inhuman fantasy of prank caller without questioning the reality of him. Until the very last minute the manager, her boyfriend, some man and other co-workers kept humiliating Becky considering they served the justice.

I imagined this movie a bit more complicated. Let me say. Psychologically, people tend to more believe the persons who are cold policemen as they associate to justice and they are supposed to be right in any circumstances. Execution of prank caller's each order is direct result of belief in his authority, without questioning it. However, psychologically as well, when something goes wrong even morally, people start doubting in "justice". I could not see it in Compliance. I believe these details were totally simple and the writer missed the logic out.

The acting panel is too OK, except Ann Dowd whose performance is not brilliant but still very good. She has recently got a huge Oscar buzz (that shall be discussed in my next post) but I think her character is very simple, monotonous, with minimum amount of emotions. But the thing she hides pretty well, as a character, is a real motive of punishing Becky. Is it really the orders given by police or something else? Is this vengeance of old woman on younger and more popular lady? (That's what you should decide by yourself).

However, the movie still has its charm. That is when people start putting themselves in the shoes of Sandra and others. It is hard to discuss what we would have done in that particular situation. This is the way people remember movies and the characters. The after-film-discussions make the movie more popular and this could be one of the reasons why Dowd is making the heads of every supporting actress list.


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