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Compliance - A Movie Review

'Compliance' is a reminder of the dangers of scammers.

By Marielle SabbagPublished 12 days ago 3 min read

We have to be at our best tonight.

Based on true events, Compliance is a 2012 film. During a busy evening at a fast food restaurant, a police officer calls and claims that an employee has stolen money. As the officer makes the workers perform lude acts on a female co-worker, his behavior becomes suspicious.

Compliance hashes an important story that warns viewers and restaurants to be careful of scammers. I turned my nose up at this film. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. It’s based on true events, but the film easily could have been thirty minutes to spare us from the embarrassing acts implemented.

I commemorate the actors for studying their characters, motivations, and relationships with one another. Restaurant settings make excellent character dynamic studies. The characters look out for each other, but the situation escalates to obscene standards. Decisions and behavior become too ridiculous to take seriously.

Ann Dowd is a remarkable actress. As the restaurant manager, Sandra, it appalls me that she didn’t come to her senses sooner. Sandra complies with everything the officer tells her to do and even talks down to her employee!

Dreama Walker’s role took courage with what her character endures, even stripping naked and reenacting sexual harassment situations. I was disappointed that Becky let her employees take advantage of her, but she used this incident to her legal advantage.

Compliance is similar to Scream. First, his voice is only heard over the phone, making his character more intimidating. Pat Healy did great in the role, changing his voice patterns. It doesn’t matter if you’re onscreen or not, acting is acting.

Part of me wishes that the film never revealed Healy’s character’s physical appearance. His vague voice alone made him more ambiguous and foreboding.

Bill Camp, Matt Servitto, Phillip Ettinger, Ashlie Atkinson, Nikia Mathis, and Ralph Rodriguez play supporting roles as restaurant employees or witnesses. Co-worker relationships are the most important interactions to implement in any media. You don’t get a say in who you work with, but they teach you about tolerance and leadership.

The cinematography highlights the fraught atmosphere. Fast-food restaurants make engaging settings because there’s always a sense of urgency. The use of tight, claustrophobic shots amplifies the sense of entrapment and helplessness experienced by the characters. The tense atmosphere makes you want to run out of this restaurant.

One of my favorite shots of the film is when Sandra walks out to her car in an excellent tracking shot. Composed by Heather McIntosh, the tense music further enhances the unsettling atmosphere. She uses eerie tones, highlighting the dread and growing tension.

As expected, I read that Compliance had mixed reactions at its Sundance Film Festival premiere. Compliance should have been 30 minutes, instead of elongating the story with repetitive scenes. Craig Zobel implemented authenticity in the story but didn’t have to include every little detail.

I couldn’t believe what I was watching! Not only is Becky stripped of her clothes, she is groped, put on display, and spanked. It was so embarrassing to watch. It’s unbelievable that the characters comply with this unknown caller and don’t find it suspicious when the 'officer' makes mistakes about his identity.

Compliance is a reminder of the dangers of scammers. Be careful with scammers and look out for yourself. Since technology has evolved, people have found different ways to take money or personal information.

Compliance is a disturbing film. I was talking to my TV screen most of the time. Look it up if you want to watch it, but I don’t recommend it.

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About the Creator

Marielle Sabbag

Writing has been my passion since I was 11 years old. I love creating stories from fiction, poetry, fanfiction. I enjoy writing movie reviews. I would love to become a creative writing teacher and leave the world inspiring minds.

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Comments (1)

  • Kendall Defoe 12 days ago

    I'm still curious about this film, and the Milgrim experiment which proves we can be manipulated by authority without meaning to be: https://youtu.be/xOYLCy5PVgM?si=A6dJbUvEH4Gj_QKD

Marielle SabbagWritten by Marielle Sabbag

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