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Compliance

Year: 2012
Production Co: Bad Cop Bad Cop Film Productions
Director: Craig Zobel
Writer: Craig Zobel
Cast: Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker

As soon as this movie was over I thought I'd hated it. I couldn't believe anyone – much less a whole bunch of people, no matter how gullible or backward, – could be that stupid.

But I realised before long the reason I thought I hated it was because I was angry that anyone could be so dumb and let a poor young girl go through what Becky (Dreama Walker) does because her manager Sandra (Ann Dowd) and everyone around her are such idiots. Apparently (according to one of the title cards at the beginning) this kind of thing happens all over the US all the time.

The bigger mystery though is exactly what happened to the movie. It had real buzz at Sundance but completely sunk on its release. Maybe the tension and anger audiences felt got around too much and turned the small number that might have made it an indie hit away.

It's an average night in a fast food restaurant and Sandra has her hands full. She's well meaning if a little over-officious, so when a guy identifying himself as a cop calls the office phone and says Becky's suspected of stealing money from customers, Sandra's as shocked as she is co-operative.

She duly does what the cop says and asks Becky to show her the contents of her purse, but when he asks Sandra to strip search the young woman, you'll get as suspicious as you will angry at Sandra for taking it all on face value.

The film has one real strength in that things escalate way too far and way too long and even while you're wanting to yell at the screen about how you'd never be that stupid, it's all played very seriously and you can almost believe something like it is possible.

Becky is mistreated in the worst way, all at the behest of the clueless Sandra, and if there's a theme, it's that we need to question authority way more than we do.

Well acted but fairly hard to watch.

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