This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Compliance: Manipulating Innocent People

I recently discovered this indie film and was riveted by the psychological implications of it.  Under stressful situations, people willingly comply with those who identify themselves as "authority figures" regardless of whether or not this might be true.  

I've never worked in fast-food, but I have worked jobs like the character Becky in Compliance.  Occasionally in these jobs, we received prank calls from men who asked to speak with female employees so they could "get off" by making sexual innuendos on the phone.  Usually, these pranksters were pretty easy to detect.  After the first few calls, our manager would simply stop answering the phone.  In Compliance, however, the "prankster" identifies himself as a cop, and at first, it all appears legitimate to Sandy, the Chickwich manager played by Ann Dowd.

This film is particularly disturbing because incidents like this actually happened.  The story of Compliance stemmed from a series of true incidents of prank calls to fast-food joints in mostly rural areas in the South.  The film closely depicts an incident that occurred at a McDonald's in Mount Washington, Kentucky in April 2004.  Compliance is not easy to watch, but the scary psychological tactics the caller uses to manipulate innocent people into acting in deviant ways is a fascinating study of human behavior.


© Copyright 2013 by KLiedle

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