ComplianceThursday 21 Mar 2013
Director: Craig Zobel
Starring: Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker
Duration: 90 minutes
It's Friday night in winter. Snow is on the ground and Sandra (Ann Dowd) is the harassed manager of a fast food restaurant in a dull-looking suburban corner of Ohio.
Sandra is harassed because she has just been rebuked by a company delivery man for letting $1,400 worth of food spoil - it seems the fridge door was left open by one of her employees. So she calls her team of workers together and warns them to be extra careful tonight.
She suspects a lightning visit from management, in the guise of an ordinary customer. Plus there are no pickles, and a bacon shortage due to the food spoiling.
Out of the blue, Sandra gets a phone call from a man purporting to be Police Officer Daniels. He tells her that one of her staff, blonde teenager Becky (Dreama Walker), has been caught on camera stealing from a customer’s purse. Moreover, he has her regional supervisor on the other line, which means Sandra must act firmly. Sadly, Daniels can’t spare an officer to get to the alleged crime scene.
Instead, he gently but persuasively asks Sandra to perform a strip search on Becky. This procedure, he insists, will be over quickly, thus solving on the spot the matter of her employee's innocence or guilt.
He assures her that the strip search performed there and then will also spare Becky a night in jail. Sandra agrees to do the body search in the office, under the ubiquitous CCTV cameras. But it doesn't end there, and there are further humiliations.
Shots of French fries glistening in a seething pool of oil, bubbles in dirty, sudsy sink water and paper cups floating in melted snow water enhance the squalid, sordid atmosphere of this rather brilliant, small film. The movie is in fact based on 70 stories of telephone manipulation by one individual in 30 states of the US - fortunately, the perpetrator was eventually caught.