(director/writer: Craig Zobel; cinematographer: Adam
Stone; editor: Jane Rizzo; music: Heather
McIntosh; cast: Ann Dowd (Sandra),
Dreama Walker (Becky), Pat Healy (Officer
Daniels), Ashlie Atkinson (Marti), Philip
Ettinger (Kevin), Bill Camp (Van), Nikiya
Mathis (Connie), James McCaffrey
(Detective Neals); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating:
PG-13; producer: Craig Zobel/Tyler
Davidson/Sophia Lin/Lisa Muskat; Magnolia
"Irritating one-note indie film."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
irritating one-note indie film is
severely limited in its scope, as it plays more like
an idea project than a full-scale drama. It points out
how stupid humans can be and how easily they comply
with the law because they are conditioned to obey
authority figures without question (in other words
think Hitler and Germany!). The film was inspired by
an actual 2004 event that took place at a McDonald's
in Mount Washington, Ky., but what's more startling is
that there were 70 similar incidents
throughout the country. Yet I found it almost
impossible to believe that such a creepy prank call
could be believed even at first blush, unless you were
a moron (which is how the stereotyped team
of fast-food workers in this fictionalized Ohio
setting are depicted).
Compliance upset enough of the audience to have massive walk-outs at this year's Sundance Festival. It's written and directed by Craig Zobel ("Great World of Sound").
The middle-aged fast food manager at ChickWich, Sandra (Ann Dowd), is stressed-out because a worker left the freezer door open overnight and she had to order from the supplier another shipment that left her short on bacon and pickles for the hectic rush-hour crowd. Things get worse when the befuddled Sandra learns by phone from an officious sounding police officer, Daniels (Pat Healy), that flighty teenage counter-girl Becky (Dreama Walker) is accused of robbing a customer's money and he wants a strip search. Things escalate as the phone cop, really a family man insurance salesman, makes more demands, brings more workers into his scheme, and the audience is supposed to believe what they are seeing that both the accused and the supervisor are not suspicious that something is not kosher about this call. Things get so bizarre that it leads to the manager's working-class boyfriend (Bill Camp), not employed by the company, who when ordered by the obvious phony police officer to spread Becky's legs and reach into her vagina to see if she's hidden the money there, would actually do it. It further leads to such tragic results for Becky (a rape victim) and the dutiful to a fault fast-food manager (fired in the aftermath), who both comply with such strange abusive requests from someone showing no proof he was an officer. The humiliation of the accused gets carried on until it goes beyond the point of logic.
film left me feeling, in some way, as abused as the
innocent counter-girl. Since everyone acted so whack
it was hard to feel anything for such dopes, as the
film left me with a cold sinking feeling in the pit of
my stomach that its truth was twisted into the sphere
of the farfetched for sensationalized entertainment
REVIEWED ON 11/16/2012 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ