Compliance is a drama film based on the real life strip-search prank calls that happened across the United States a few years ago. The plot stays true to the almost unbelievable events that took place that led to the sexual assault of a young employee.
If Compliance wasn’t based on a such a well documented, real case, the plot would be so unbelievable that it would just seem far fetched. However, the fact that whole series of events was caught on a CCTV recording means that director, Craig Zobel is able to use this story to examine just how easily people can be manipulated. An anonymous caller manages to convince a fast food manager to strip-search and detain one of her employees for hours on end. With the smallest amount of information and few well timed bits of flattery the caller is able to lead the manager into performing ludicrous acts such as confiscating the employees clothes and leaving her to be attended to by a man that didn’t even work for the fast food chain.
Zobel manages to explore the human wish to conform, to stay out of trouble and to obey authority. Even before the main events of the film, traffic notices are cleverly used to enhance the sub-text of subconscious obedience as part of daily routine. The claustrophobic interior shots make the film even more tense and uncomfortable.
Compliance would not have been anywhere near as good as it is without the brilliant and brave performance of Dreama Walker as Becky, or the idiotic simplicity of Ann Dowd as the overly compliant manager. At times shocking, uncomfortable and with moments of laughter, Compliance is a brilliant look into human psyche.
Watch the trailer for Compliance here: