Sunday, September 16, 2012
Compliance - Craig Zobel (2012)
“Compliance” clearly wants to be either a rigid psychological thriller or a profound statement on sexual sadism.
It is neither.
The film takes place mostly in the backroom of a fast food restaurant as a prank phone call, over the course of a few hours, leads to a rape.
But Craig Zobel’s screenplay, based on a true story, can’t keep up with its concept.
It starts with a great deal of promise as the tension starts to build, but the focus shifts quickly from the victimization of Becky, our protagonist to absolute wonder over the stupidity of the characters.
As the employees continue to believe the caller, who claims to be a policeman demanding a strip-search of a young girl, it’s impossible to believe none of them would question the caller’s credibility.
The film makes the case that at least some of the workers have been duped and are victims, just like Becky and that’s a conclusion I found strikingly offensive.
The employees are complicit in the crime, not only the manager, Sandra, who takes point on the search, but also co-workers like Kevin and Marti, who seem to know something is wrong but don’t help their friend.
The concept “Compliance” is based on is interesting and should have produced a thought provoking film.
Sadly, writer/director Craig Zobel just doesn’t have the capability of pulling that off.