Must See Movies You’ve Never Seen: ‘Compliance’ (2012)

Welcome to Movie Melt’s “Must See Movies” section.  Here we will give you the spoiler-free rundown of a film that we feel you really need to see.  We won’t necessarily just talk about all the big name films, as we like to show the independent and foreign films some love, especially since we feel like it is more use to our readers to give them a heads up on great films that get no press.  We will try to keep them current, but we may sprinkle in some less recent films as we watch them, if we really feel they need to be mentioned.

Unfortunately if you take a look at the cinema listings right now you will see that the selection is pretty limited.  That’s me being political – quite frankly there is some real trash out there right now!  With that being said, I will choose instead to kick of our Move Melt Must See Movie’s with one of the independent films I’ve seen recently, which hit DVD in the past month or two.

Compliance (2012)

Compliance Movie

Let me start by saying that the movie Compliance is a based very closely on real events.  That really was a key piece of knowledge to have going into the film and really made a difference when shaping my opinion of the film.

The film stars Dreama Walker, as a young girl who works at a fast food restaurant, for a stressed out manager, played by Ann Dowd.  The film centers around a phone call, which we know to be a prank, but which turns very real to those involved.  The caller gets on the line with the manager of “ChickWich,” Sandra and proceeds to tell her than generally innocent employee, Becky (Walker), has stolen some money.  What proceeds from here is a disturbing, personal and very difficult to watch turn of events that unearths some truly horrifying realities about the world we live in and the unfortunate side of human nature.

Playing to Sandra’s need for approval and her desire not to make mistakes, the caller manages to convince her with relative ease.  No matter what she says, or her initial inclination of disbelief as the requests get more and more outlandish, if an explanation is provided she is willing to accept it.  Becky, meanwhile, is willing to do as she is told due to the dear of what might happen to her if she doesn’t.  At times I felt like things were too crazy, too silly and that it could never happen.  But then I remembered that these things actually happened, on multiple occasions around the country.

We also begin to wonder if Sandra is just, quite frankly, an idiot.  But as we begin to see others get involved, we understand that human nature can be a terrible thing, and sometimes our moral center is overridden by feelings of fear, worry, doubt, acceptance, approval and a variety of other ideas that play on our minds in stressful situations.

Things really do get quite disturbing, and I had difficulty watching certain scenes.  I don’t say that lightly either, as not much gets to me in the world of film.  I considered the film a true punch in the gut, and while at some points during the film, the acting can be a little questionable, in general the main members of the cast did a fantastic job.  If you don’t mind some unsettling stuff, if you watch Compliance you are likely in for a very powerful experience.

I certainly expect that this film won’t be for everybody, and some of you may hate it.  That’s just the way I like it.  What did you all think of the film, and how it all ends?  Any thoughts on psychology, and the real life stuff that leads to these situations?  Feel free to take this further than movies – here at Movie Melt we love to talk about things we don’t fully understand, and act like we do!

Check out the trailer for the film:

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  1. I watched this film and it is on Netflix for anyone that is looking to watch it. This film was a very real depiction of human manipulation and the effect of authority on the human mind. I felt that the movie was well done towards the end and did not think that it was complete waste of time. The acting was good but not Oscar worthy in any means. I thought the movie was slightly over done but all in all good movie.
    To answer your question of psychological real life problems in the movie, I would say they were accurate. Did have problems with it at first thinking there is no way an average person would be stupid enough to go through the interrogation process they did, but they did start to tie in the effect of what the power of authority could do and how many people could get sucked into this game from the prank caller. It was interesting to watch all together. Good choice there buddy.

    • Glad someone else checked this out – I thought the same thing about nobody being that stupid. If it wasn’t a true story I wouldn’t have believed it at all.

  2. First of all, while the performance of the two main characters in Compliance was very good, showing the issues of acceptance of authority on one side and the weakness of an older male and the slow deterioration of his morals, along with good cinematography, the script and the direction were crap at best! While they depicted the manipulator as writing things down, they didn’t depict how he manipulated people at all and left most viewers feeling this girl and these people had to be the most stupid people of all time. The fact is the real people involved weren’t so stupid, the movie was! Telemarketers make billions, billions every year selling people things they don’t want by manipulating them, so yes, this can certainly happen and happen to many. However, this movie is trash as it almost congratulates the manipulator while showing the victim to be stupid and greedy. Don’t be fooled by this “joke” of a film, such things happen and are probably happening right now as you read this. This movie is a great example of how talented actors and a great idea born of reality can be totally and completed ruined by true directorial incompetence.

    • That’s a fair view – I think that the victims here were a little stupid though. I agree that this is a real issue which happens to tons of people, but not usually a collection of people, in order like this, without questioning. I enjoyed the film personally, although I can understand your criticisms.

      • Certainly due to the performances of the actors, especially the two main characters, the film can be enjoyed at least until near the end when you get to the way too long scene of the cop driving in his car with his profile showing for what seems like forever. Does anyone have any idea what that was for? My issue was the movie probably made a bad situation worse. Anyone falling for these con people may be very reluctant to pursue anything as this movie will make them feel like they must be totally stupid and that just isn’t the case. Most people, MOST PEOPLE, fall for this type of deception at one time or another no matter how much we like to pretend it could never happen to us. That’s my biggest complaint, it doesn’t help the issue, it make it worse!

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