Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Compliance: Quick Movie Review


Cast: Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker

Writer and Director: Craig Zobel

*** and a 1/2 stars out of four.

I have seen a lot of disturbing movies, but none have gotten under my skin as effectively as this thriller.  Based on true events, the story is about a fast food manager (Ann Dowd) who gets a phone call from a prank caller posing as a police officer (Pat Healy).  She is told that one of her employees (Dreama Walker) has stolen money from a customer and is to be held in the back room until he can get over there.  The caller's requests become more and more sadistic- to the point that it results in the sexual assualt of the young girl.  This is an incident that seems too crazy to be true, but it has been done several times before.  Click on Article below to read more about the real life cases.

Strip Search Prank Call Scam

Every performance in this is worthy of any type of award.  Ann Dowd as the manager is quite tragic, because although she is not a bad person, she should be held just as responsible for allowing these crimes to happen.  The only movie I saw Dreama Walker in was "The Pill", but her role was so small I barely noticed her.  This one, however, will be her calling card.  She is extremely brave to perform such horrific scenes and play them so convincingly.  I was screaming inside for this character to just break away and escape.  Pat Healy as the prank caller should also get some high praise.  This character is a sick, disturbed man, but he is having so much fun seeing how far he can get these people to obey the most ridiculous requests that it becomes almost absurdly comical.  That is, until the person actually agrees to do it, then it becomes downright disgusting.  There was one moment, like in "Psycho", that I was concerned he wasn't going to be able to get back on the call again.  That really freaked me out, but I gotta give credit to the performance.  Director Craig Zobel should also get praise, because he never once exploits any of his charcters or situations.  In a less competent person's hands, these moments would appear to be more erotic then what they are. 

It's scary how easy people will follow orders from anyone with any sort of authority.  Only a few of the characters in this had the common sense to see what was wrong, but none of them did anything until it was too late.  This is a movie that will anger a lot of viewers.  In the theater, I saw at least 4 people walk out.  No one wants to believe that this sort of thing would happen.  We all would like to think that everyone is nice and that there are no evil people out there, but there are.  There really are.


  1. It’s a hard watch at times since it’s so real, and I honestly think that’s what’s really working behind it. Other than that, it’s a relatively sub-par thriller with great moments that hit the core of a human personality. It’s like a horror movie with a mind. Good review Vern.

    1. Thanks Dan. I plan on showing it to more people once it hits home video

  2. Great review! I agree the director really did a great job and managed to make tasteful, almost elegant movie about such a horrible incident filled with stupid people. Ann Dowd was really great, I hope she will continue to deliver more of such quality performances.

  3. I think your are being a little to generous although a good story,I for one struggled to comprehend such nativity and ignorance, but knowing it was a true story is what pulls you through, because no doubt if this was a script one had written that wasn't following true events you would probably say this is a terrible story.

    1. It is one of those stories that is so bizzare it sounds like a really badly written torture porn, but the performances from the cast and the way Craig Zobel never glorifies any of the violence, sets it apart from other flicks. Thank you for commenting Mavi

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