COMPLIANCE: A Flawed Masterpiece

13 Feb


‘There was the sense of trying to get something that would be believable, or maybe not even believable but acceptable, to audiences as sounding like it had some logic to it.’ Director,  Craig Zobel, in an interview with the AV club.

Compliance is truly an amazing film. Made with only fifty grand and shot almost entirely in one location, the film stands as one of the most gripping I have seen in a long time. The film is based off true events: a man called a series of 70 McDonald’s Restaurants in the United States over a period of ten years, posing as a police officer. He would tell a manager that one of the employees had stolen money from a costumer and ask them to confine and strip-search the employee. The caller would continue, seeing how far he could get the manager to go in the name of following orders. In the instance depicted in the film, they went very far. The viewing experience is pretty harrowing, causing many walk outs and heated debates on the film festival circuit.

As I said earlier, this truly is an amazing film. Since I saw it I have been unable to stop talking about it to anyone who would listen. It’s so close to being absolutely sensational except for a few pitfalls in the last quarter that are so dissapointing.

The suspense of the film is held in the conversations. The audience knows something the victims do not, so watching the poor manager cry as she forces the employee to strip is devastating. But in the last quarter the narrative goes so far off course, that the audience is left thinking that that section is fictional. In fact, it isn’t.The events that take place are so shocking that it would be a hard job to make them not necessary believable but ‘acceptable’ to use Zobel’s words. Watching the film it feels as though not even the director thaught it was plausable that those events took place. But they did. And if a little more ‘logic’ was injected into those climactic scenes, this truly could have been a masterpiece.


One Response to “COMPLIANCE: A Flawed Masterpiece”

  1. Jen G February 14, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    I really want to see this now! Sounds a bit harrowing though.

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