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Friday, August 17, 2012
Language, sexual content/nudity
Ann Down, Dreama Walker, Pat Healy, Bill Camp, Philip Ettinger, James McCaffrey, Matt Servitto, Ashlie Atkinson, Nikiya Mathis, Ralph Rodriquez, Stephen Payne, Amelia Fowler
When a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. Right? 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?" The second feature from director Craig Zobel (the man behind the 2007 Sundance hit Great World of Sound), COMPLIANCE recounts this riveting nightmare in which the line between legality and reason is hauntingly blurred. The cast delivers startlingly authentic performances that make the appalling events unfolding onscreen all the more difficult to watch -- but impossible to turn away from. Delving into the complex psychology of this real-life story, COMPLIANCE proves that sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.
Compliance (2012) | Preview
Why Would They Do This?
Zobel was asked about the psychological tautness of the script
Craig Zobel: There is definitely built into the idea of it. The best way to kind of show that is in a screenwriting way, all of the different people that interacted, I didn't really.... I had looked at these true stories and knew some amount of what had happened from the true stories, but you had a lot of gaps. To me that was the reason to make the movie was to fill in the gaps. This happened seventy times. There had to be a way that people got from point A to point B. What were those little points? For me it was like trying to build variation one, this is what the manager would say; variation two, this is what the peer who is a friend would say; and whatever and try to do those things and try to find some behavior that seemed real and believable.
There is the basis here for a great 1970s Wes Craven exploitation film. Was there ever a moment where you thought to just dismiss it out of hand because it is so sordid, that this is such a tawdry idea that you didn't want to go there?
CZ: I was very scared to make this movie, if that's a good answer to that question. I didn't necessarily not want to go there because I felt that it would be a Wes Craven's 1970s exploitation movie as much as that if we were going to do it right, we were going to have to ask some hard questions. I mean to me the real story, reading all these true events, made me kind of have more and more questions and there was less and less like what was black and white, and there was a lot of gray area to it. I was pretty scared to make the film, and I would say I was like that because of wanting to make sure to keep it nuanced and make sure that we could hit more than just the black and white—the exploitation version, which I think would be the very subjective; you know, Dreama has these people coming after her the whole movie. I thought the interesting way to do it would be to be somewhat removed and be able to look at those people and say like, alright, Sandra, the manager, is doing something bad, but is there a way that we can also have sympathy for that too and recognize some sort of empathy in her at the same time. And if we fail at that, then we've just made what you just said, a bad exploitation movie.
Can you talk a little bit about the relationship between the two women, how you saw that and how it evolved during the course of the film? Dreama Walker: Well, it was definitely something interesting that Craig came up with when he wrote the script, but it's also something we sort of experimented with when we were making it and doing different takes. It was a very interesting idea that this woman would sort of maybe sometimes like subconsciously allow these things to happen because of her resentment towards Becky. That was an interesting thing that was cool to explore, and I thought it was really cool that Craig put that in the script. One of the first scenes is when she starts talking about getting engaged and I kind of roll my eyes. It was something that we played with, and yeah we were talking a lot about how this brought out a whole different element to the movie and a whole different thing that was really interesting.
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