Compliance: A disturbing true story

I was able to see Compliance, a thriller that shocked and disturbed its audience at Sundance 2012 before its limited August release. The film is written and directed by Craig Zobel who is probably most well known for co-creating Homestar Runner. It is based on a series of prank calls commonly called the “strip search prank calls”. The film follows the events of the most disturbing of these calls (there were at least 70 reported in all), which took place at a Mount Washington, Kentucky McDonalds.

Without spoiling too much of the movie, basically a guy calls a fast food restaurant and claims to be a police officer who is too busy to come by in person. He instructs the store manager that one of her employees has stolen money and she needs to help him investigate. He tells her he is fully responsible for her actions and the investigation and she won’t be doing anything wrong. She is ordered to detain the employee, and things roll down hill fast.

The film explores how people respond to authority figures and just how far they’ll go to obey an authority even if common sense seems counter to their actions. The entire movie I was writhing in my chair and nearly screaming at the screen. Who would let these events happen? Who would comply with these absolutely insane actions? Why? And this REALLY DID happen!

I highly recommend seeing this movie and reading about the story. Compliance has an 89% Rotten Tomatoes score and is definitely worth a watch.