Dir/Wri: Craig Zobel Cast: Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, Pat Healy, Philip Ettinger, Matt Servitto, Ashlie Atkinson, Nikiya Mathis, Bill Camp | 90min US Drama
If this story wasn’t based on real events in the US – that happened not just once, but 70 times in 30 states, you would write this off as the most far-fetched nonsense requiring a suspension of disbelief beyond the stiffest resolve. Unfortunately, it is and you can’t.
Dreama Walker plays Becky, a young girl struggling to survive on low wages in a dreary fast food joint. Then one day, a call from someone purporting to be a Police Officer turns her world upside-down in the most extraordinary and humiliating way.
The acting throughout is quite superb. Ann Dowd, the unquestioning manager of the restaurant is brilliant. Everyone there is convincing in their depiction of the characters who might staff such an establishment. But as a sentient adult with an IQ anything over 40, you find yourself sitting there squirming and watching the film through your fingers, needing to shout at the screen for someone somewhere to come to their senses.
Whether Craig Zobel intended this as a sinister straight drama or some kind of Corporate Educational video for anyone working in the fast food industry in dealing with the potential dangers of scam calls, is questionable. But Compliance certainly beggars belief. He would go on to make The Hunt an equally dark and discombobulating thriller, some years later.
If you are at all worried that, as a species, we infact peaked some years ago and are now sliding back towards the swamp at a rate of knots then, whatever you do, don’t go and see this. It’s all the proof you needed. Only in America. But also – increasingly – over here.
COMPLIANCE is now on MUBI