Continuing with my countdown of 2012's best films, this small movie smashes common sense with a giant sledgehammer.
18. “Compliance” - “It’s the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
As the story unfolds, you’ll soon discover the uncomfortableness factor increases exponentially, and when the movie ends, a shower or a stiff drink might be your only reprieve.
This film plays out like a slow and deliberate train wreck in the setting of - of all places - a fast food restaurant in Ohio.
On an ordinary Friday evening, life seems pretty normal at the local Chickwich.
A middle-aged manager, Sandra (Ann Dowd), stresses about a pickle and bacon shortage, and high school students Becky (Dreama Walker) and Kevin (Philip Ettinger) attempt to multitask between discussing the latest teenage drama and preparing for the upcoming dining rush.
As the local patrons order sandwich combinations and supersized fries, the evening is suddenly interrupted by a phone call from a policeman.
He tells Sandra some disturbing news about one of her employees, and asks her to take action until they arrive.
Sandra does as she’s told, and that’s when events being to fall into a steep downward spiral.
Zobel works his story like a master puppeteer and plays on our fears and frustrations.
The few key players at the restaurant need to make smart choices, and the right decisions are crystal clear to the audience, but unfortunately, we are helpless to communicate our thoughts to the onscreen characters.
So, we are left to squirm and fidget in our seats as Zobel, the master puppeteer, manipulates our feelings.
Taking place in Small Town U.S.A., “Compliance” doesn’t paint a picture that Americans are evolving or enabling anything close to critical thinking, and although the events on screen are a horror show, it’s more disturbing the way the characters get to those events.
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