Extra Cinema: Compliance (15)

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Compliance (15)

Starring: Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, Pat Healy, Phillip Ettinger and Ashlie Atkinson.

Running time: 1hr 30mins.

IT’S hard to know how to begin this review. It’s a disturbing film, of that there is no doubt, but I’m trying to push back the desire to insult Americans in general.

You see, Compliance is based on actual event that happened, not once, but several times across the States.

It involves workers at a fast food restaurant.

The manageress, Sandra (Dowd), receives a phone call from a man (Healy) claiming to be a police officer and accusing one of the till girls, Becky (Walker), of stealing from a customers purse.

Due process be damned! He openly says she did take the money and claims they have witnesses to the crime.

All of this is accepted by the manageress who even talks about the crime if it is real.

Becky protests her innocence, but the voice at the other end of the phone is adamant that unless she complies with his wishes, she is going to jail.

Had this been an outright work of fiction, it would have scant credibility.

I know the law is somewhat different in America, but surely “innocent until proven guilty” is a universal constant in the developed world.

But these characters blithely follow what the voice on the end of the phone directs them to do – even though it becomes increasingly bizarre and flouts Becky’s human rights.

I found myself wondering about the levels of education in the US and could these people be any more dense?

Because, despite the threatening, bullying and cajoling, it’s still just a disembodied voice at the end of a phone.

I found it hard to imagine that anyone in our country would fall for such a blatant con — the “officer” would send someone, but they can’t spare the manpower.

The acting is first-rate and Dreama Walker turns in a great performance as the young girl, wrongly accused of a crime.

As the film progresses, we see her will slowly ebb as she is expected to do ever-more degrading actions in her quest to prove her innocence.

A fine film which drove me nuts.

Rating: 4/5