Streaming Saturday: Compliance (2012)

I’m starting a new weekly post. Streaming Saturday is going to be a weekly recommendation post for movies and TV shows that are available to stream on Netflix. So here’s the first of them. Enjoy.

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Compliance is a very stupid movie but it has some interesting things to say about peopleand about docudramas as a genre in general.

The movie, inspired by true events, follows a fast food manager who gets a call from someone claiming to be the police. The voice on the phone convinces her to detain and humiliate a 19 year-old female employee. What starts as a prank call escalates to sexual assault and that’s where the movie falls apart for me.

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The characters are simply too stupid to be sympathetic. The movie strains the bounds of believability as the characters are convinced to do despicable things to an innocent teenager. They are compliant based solely on the word of a man on a phone. It’s nearly hour before someone in the movie questions the caller and he is met with accusations of being drunk.

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The entire situation could have been avoided if someone asked for proof that the man was a police officer or if someone would have simply done what I would hope any rational human being would have done and told the man to conduct his investigation himself, in person. But that’s not what happened and it would have been easy to write off the movie as another victim of poor scriptwriting. But more shocking than anything that happened in the movie is the fact that everything in the movie happened in real life.

The movie follows a true account of something that happened in Kentucky to a tee. This information changed my view of the movie. I had written the movie off as having characters that were too unbelievable in a situation that was far too fantastical to be taken seriously. Now that I know it really happened, the movie has stuck with me. It’s despicable what happened to the girl and appalling to think someone would do it simply because they are told to do it.

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In the end, the movie raises interesting questions about how far people are willing to go to appease an authority figure, even if that means violating an innocent person. It’s a heavy subject to tackle and the movie handles it as best it can, given the true events that inspired it.

The fact that everything in the movie really happened changed my view of the movie but it doesn’t necessarily change my opinion. The movie is still a logical mess. Whether a movie has super heroes or monsters, we still demand some explanation as to what causes these things to exist in their universe. True story or not, Compliance pits characters into a situation where they act so unbelievably stupid that it detracts from the viewing experience and, honestly, makes it difficult to sympathize with them.

This movie proves that a compelling true story doesn’t always translate to a captivating movie because real life is filled with too many plot holes and despicable characters.

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One response to “Streaming Saturday: Compliance (2012)

  1. Pingback: The Month in Movies: March 2013 | The Obsessive Viewer

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