The Movie: 8/10
I was tense and on edge the entire movie. That says something about it, in a good way. This story is horrifying, to say the least. Staff of a fast food restaurant tricked into some very horrible acts through a phone call from a friggin’ asshole. This is based on true events, so the fictional element isn’t there to sooth me into thinking, “oh well, this could never happen in real life”. It did happen, and it is terrifying.
The cast is excellent. Every person does their part with commitment and delicacy when needed. The young lady at the heart of the whole thing balances the fear and anger and defeated feelings just right to make her a character I wanted to protect and avenge. The manager woman made me SOOOOO mad I wanted to reach in yank her out so the things happening would stop. The men involved in the whole thing are portrayed in a few ways, all did a fantastic job. To be such a terrible villain can’t be easy, but the caller is great, the men brought into the situation are all specifically amazing in their own ways.
The set is mostly in the back room of this fast food joint. It’s sterile to a degree, but very familiar to most of us who have worked in that kind of place in our life. The overall vibe of the film is realistic, to the camera movements, to the way the characters interact to the harsh reality of the fast food world. It’s kind of grungy and gross, mixed with colorful and organized in a way that jumps off the screen. We are reminded through the whole movie that there is a hierarchy in place, even if it’s a lowly chain restaurant manager, a shift supervisor, a “police officer” on the phone, or a real police officer in real life.
Compliance is scary in a way that scary movies will never have the benefit of embracing. The cruelty of a man calling random strangers, demanding they do things under the guise that he’s in control of an investigation. He says all the right things to “social engineer” the situation, from start to finish.
I cringed. I cried. I took a lot of deep breaths. I got angry. I felt sympathy, empathy, and disgust, all mixed together by one story. I would say that’s quite an achievement. If you are unsettled by some of the more insidious things humans can do to each other, and you want to deny the worst of our species, stay away from Compliance. Trust me on this. Even I had a glimmer of one second of that feeling “I don’t want to see any more of this…it’s freaking me out.” But I don’t give up on movies that are top quality and compelling.
Compliance reminds me that I am a very independent person, not as vulnerable as some people I know. The thing is, if the right person says the right things and earns my trust seamlessly I could fall prey to this kind of deviant behavior and that scares the shit out of me.
- Behind The Scenes – Not really a behind the scenes more of a EPK style featurette. I was so disappointed that the disc has no comparisons to the real story behind the film.
- Interview With Director Craig Zobel – Director Craig Zobel gives a short interview about how the movie came about. Again quite good but very short.
- AXS TV: A Look At Compliance – Another short EPK piece that really is just the trailer with a few interviews.
- Theatrical Trailer
Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
This is a great cover. It’s unsettling and hints at something sinister happening, and could not be more correct. The menu is nothing special. I would have the cover as a poster, definitely.
Audio & Video: 8/10
Compliance is quite a low budget movie but that does not mean it looks cheap as the art and production design really make the film shine. Mostly shot in one location you might think visually the film might become boring but with inventive camera angles and lighting that is far from the truth. Digitally shot using the Arriflex D-21 the footage looks great on the Blu-Ray format. Facial detail is great and blacks are on point, I found nothing to complain about with this AVC 1080P transfer.
Seeing as most of the movie involves talking and half of that talking comes out of a telephone receiver you would only hope that the dialog is as crisp and clean as possible. Aside from the music at the very start being mixed a little high there is nothing to fault the presentation here. The star of the show is the haunting cello music which permeates the picture, it’s the type of music that makes it very clear these human beings are about to witness something bad.
This movie is NOT for everyone. If you are pretty grown up, fairly stable, have a tough constitution for dispicable characters, you will appreciate it. I say give it a digital rental, it’s worth the price.
Overall Score 8/10