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The Greatest Movies We Never Want to See Again: ‘Compliance’

Another more recent release, Craig Zobel’s ‘Compliance’ is based on a true story so inconceivable and horrific that you’ll question the reality in which we live. A man calls up a fast food chain and poses as a police officer, convincing the manager (Ann Dowd in a compelling and suitably layered performance) that an employee (Dreama Walker) has stolen from a customer. The man (Pat Healy) proceeds to systematically push the manager into holding her employee hostage, stripping her, and eventually leaving her in the care of others who are more susceptible to the caller’s sinister suggestions.

Based on a series of true events in which a man posed as a police officer and convinced fast food workers to strip, humiliate, and in some cases rape their co-workers and subordinates, ‘Compliance’ explores ideas of obedience and service in the context of the ultimate service industry. The most disturbing aspect of ‘Compliance’ is the reality from which it is based — and it’s also the very thing that turns so many people off from liking the film, finding the events, no matter how true, to be so patently unbelievable and deplorable. ‘Compliance’ is the type of film that raises interesting and important questions about complying with those we perceive as superior, and what we ourselves might do in a similar situation — the truth is, those guilty of perpetrating these crimes under the influence of a man pretending to be a police officer are not much different from the rest of us. They’d never believe themselves capable of the very acts they committed.

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