Inspired by true events, COMPLIANCE tells the chilling story of just how far one might go to obey a figure of authority. On a particularly busy day at a suburban Ohio fast food joint, high-strung manager Sandra (Ann Dowd (Garden State) receives a phone call from a police officer saying that an employee, a pretty young blonde named Becky (newcomer Dreama Walker) has stolen money from a customer. Convinced she's only doing what's right, Sandra commences the investigation, following step-by-step instructions from the officer at the other end of the line, no matter how invasive they become. As we watch, we ask ourselves two questions: “Why don’t they just say no?” and the more troubling, "Am I certain I wouldn't do the same?"
Wednesday night I had passes to see a screening of Compliance. After reading an article in the New York Times about people walking out during the movie, I wasn't sure if I really wanted to see it. I had already mentioned it to the Princess of Snark (my kid) though, so I was obligated to go.
Ten minutes into the film, PoS and I were side eyeing the mess out of the manager, Sandra. We always talk about how sad it is to see older people working physically demanding jobs when it's obvious they're not built for it. In this instance, Sandra is a fifty something suburbanite managing a crew of teens & early twentysomethings at a fast food restaurant. It's obvious from the beginning that she's trying to fit in with them, seeking their approval and they think she's a joke.
So when a police officer calls saying that a customer is down at the police station claiming that a cashier stole money from her purse, Sanda is overly eager to please him, not only because he's an authority figure, but because he flatters her. Ma'am, you let your low self-esteem jack up this child's day??? Anyway, the call goes on for hours and not once does Sandra question any of the crazy requests the officer is making. Not only does she practice poor judgement, so does everyone else that comes in contact with Becky, the accused.
People were walking out of theater left and right and we weren't even 20 minutes in. Yes, it was pretty unbelievable that someone would take direction from someone over the phone simply because they claimed to be a police officer. The scary thing is, the movie is based on a real story!
As we left the theater we were given a questionnaire to fill out and PoS and I got to talking.
Me: That was some bullshit. I wish to hell somebody would call me talking about, "Hold so and so in the break room 'til we arrive."
PoS: I know, right? Come get them your damn self. <Note: PoS turns 19 next month.> I watch too much Law & Order for that!
See Compliance if you must, if for no other reason to see just how stupid and lemming-like people can be.
Would you ever take direction from a stranger over the phone?