"“Your initial reaction is one of disbelief as you struggle to accept that this incredible set of events could actually occur...”"

Having caused quite a stir at the various festivals Compliance has been shown – including a mass walk-out when aired over here at the London Film Festival last Autumn – Craig Zobel's controversial second feature film is one that is bound to provoke a reaction from its audience, although rather than be graphic or shocking in it's approach, it's more an irrational feeling of anger towards the people that this incredible true story is based upon.

Based entirely on a real set of events, we focus in on a fried chicken chain restaurant called ChickWich, as manager Sandra (Ann Dowd) and her staff are preparing for a typically busy Friday night shift. However the evening is rocked by a prank phone-call whereby somebody claiming to be a police officer accuses waitress Becky (Dreama Walker) of stealing money off a customer. What transpires is a lengthy conversation, where this so-called law enforcer dictates the course of action, which leads to a disturbing and humiliating experience for the innocent young employee.

When watching Compliance your initial reaction is one of disbelief as you struggle to accept that this incredible set of events could actually occur – yet then you remember this is based on a true story, and suddenly any such incertitude turns to disdain, as you can't quite believe how gullible and downright stupid those involved – aside from Becky – can be. You just want to walk in to the establishment and start shouting at people to get a grip. Such strong emotions being provoked are a testament to Zobel who has done a mighty fine job in making this all seem as plausible as you possibly can, with a hauntingly naturalistic feel to the production. Much of the realism derives from the prank caller himself, as he has a charm about him, yet a steely conviction that allows for his persuasion techniques to seem somewhat conceivable, equipped with a threatening, intimidating tone.

The one key problem with Compliance however, is you struggle to comprehend exactly what is gained from making this movie. It's a shocking real life story, but simply reading it in a newspaper would have just as much impact – as Zobel is so naturalistic that he doesn't use any of his poetic licence in order to warrant making this a cinematic experience. If you're going to release this theatrically, you need to offer something that a news report wouldn't and perhaps delve in to the lives and backgrounds of those involved, and provide an insight into our caller and his sadistic motives. Who is Becky? Why is the prank-caller doing this? These are the questions we want to see dealt with, yet they remain entirely unanswered. By simply playing the events out we lose the chance to get inside the story. Perhaps a documentary may have just been a better idea, as it could have involved interviews with those involved.

Nonetheless, Compliance remains intense from start to finish and features a host of wonderful performances that add to the believability and naturalistic approach, which is spot on. It's not quite as shocking or disturbing as one had expected, but then again, as it's based on a true story, it's definitely for the best