Discussion of movies and ReelThoughts topics

It is currently Fri Jul 25, 2014 3:42 pm




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 56 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Film Club Discussion: Compliance 
Author Message
Second Unit Director
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:51 pm
Posts: 419
Location: Durham, NC
Post Film Club Discussion: Compliance
I thought I would go ahead and post the thread for the Film Club discussion of Compliance !

_________________
"I have now come to claim that satisfaction."


Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:57 pm
Profile
Director
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:42 pm
Posts: 1333
Location: Bangkok
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
Really hard to rate. Feel more like a really well crafted statement than a movie. I guess I would give it 3.0.

One thing I'm dissappointed (not for the wrong reason though) is that the "sexual" act she performed is depicted as a quick cut one scene. I mean, I don't want anything more graphic because it's already hard to watch, but when I read about that particular thing in the wiki I'm curious how anyone can be pushed that far to do that thing, and thought the film might attempt the build-up to it. As the movie is, the act is just very mind-boggling as it is in the news.

Also, from IMDB (I know it's imdb, but this seems more thoughtful and authentic enough), someone knew the girl this happened to:

Kinda knew the girl this happened to wrote:
I used to be friends with her brother. I never really spoke to her or got to know her that well, but I could immediately tell from the moment I met her she was one of the most timid people I'd ever encountered. She was a bit book wormish, and very quiet.

I don't think she was the idiot a lot of people say she is because of what happened. People like her are just very non confrontational and scare easy. She reacted the way a child would in that situation.


Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:14 pm
Profile
Cinematographer
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:35 pm
Posts: 648
Location: Puerto Rico
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
So how will this work? We just post our thoughts on the film?

_________________
"Get busy living, or get busy dying"

Visit my site: Thief12 profile


Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:06 am
Profile WWW
Second Unit Director
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:51 pm
Posts: 419
Location: Durham, NC
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
Peng, I'm with you, this was a hard film to rate, let alone watch.

Compliance is a very, very disturbing film, examining the veil of authority and it's impact on the human condition. This film has pretty solid acting, nothing extraordinary, but very realistic. My main beef with Compliance is that it feels very close to entering the exploitation field. Yes, this is based on true events, but the film overall has a familiar exploitative feel. Do we need a film about these horrific prank calls? Couldn't the theme of authority be explored in a different manner? With that said Compliance only seems surface deep. It merely depicts a true event, and thats about it. Even though Compliance is showing us these awful events, it never escapes the feeling of meandering bleakness. I suppose the bleak tone doesn't help the acceptance of the events---how could someone take a man on the other end of a phone so seriously? Everyone who watches this will more than likely ask a form of this question--and the bleak tone doesn't help. I don't think Compliance is a bad film, theres just a lack of meaning at its core.

_________________
"I have now come to claim that satisfaction."


Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:21 am
Profile
Second Unit Director
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:51 pm
Posts: 419
Location: Durham, NC
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
Thief12 wrote:
So how will this work? We just post our thoughts on the film?


Yea Thief, we'll just post our thoughts, and with those thoughts discussion will ensue!

_________________
"I have now come to claim that satisfaction."


Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:22 am
Profile
Cinematographer
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:41 pm
Posts: 639
Location: The Desert
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
I'll come back in the next day with a longer post on what I thought about the film, but for now here's a link to a more detailed article that makes for strong supplemental reading:

http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbc ... ck_check=1

I will say now that I can't deny the effectiveness of Compliance, but there are certain elements about it that rub me the wrong way.

_________________
"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool."
Letterboxd Profile


Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:50 am
Profile WWW
Second Unit Director
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:35 am
Posts: 423
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
Yeah... Well it was interesting, at least in how the film reflected the events of what happened, and how people are so easily influenced by authority.... But as a movie? I don't know.

You see, if I didn't know that the movies was based on true events, and actually follows those events pretty closely, I wouldn't think of it as a good film. Because you wouldn't expect characters to ever act like that in a real situation. It's like in a horror movie where you're yelling at the characters for making stupid decisions. Normally you'd consider that poor writing in movie. But this really happened, so what are you supposed to make of it?

As such, it's hard to really empathise with many of the characters. Surely someone must have just an ounce of assertiveness and take control of the situation. Don't these people know their rights? It just becomes so frustrating seeing characters do such illogical things, especially when it becomes rather obvious that the man on the phone is not a police officer. Of course, in real life, there are a lot of easily influenced, none too intelligent folk. But I guess that doesn't translate too well to traditional storytelling, especially when we're supposed empathise and understand these people.

The ending also seemed kind of tacked on. There was absolutely no insight into who the "villain" was, why he did what he did. Which seems especially strange since the film bothers to depict him as a seemingly normal parent, with a good job, healthy diet, etc. Nor any real fallout of how the characters coped after the events, besides the engagement ending revealed in the underwhelming epilogue interview scene.

So yeah, it's hard for me to really give a rating to. It was well made, acted, the dialogue was mostly believable, and it was disturbing in a pretty effective way. But as a piece of narrative film making, it's not very successful. And yeah, it is so fucking bleak. It's not the kind of film you'd want to see if you want to feel optimistic about the human race.


Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:19 am
Profile
Cinematographer
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:35 pm
Posts: 648
Location: Puerto Rico
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
Ok, thoughts first, then I'll address some points already made...


It surely was a tough watch. I think that's how most people have defined the experience here and in other forums I visit. It was tough not because it was bad, but because it was done so well, that I could practically feel the uneasiness of the characters involved. As the film reached its climax, I thought the plot began to push the boundaries of plausibility, but reading that it was based on real events, and reading about the events per se, put things in perspective and only made it harder to stomach. Overall, I thought it was a really well done film with some really good performances. I thought the three leads (Ann Dowd, Pat Healy, Dreama Walker) were great, while the supporting cast was very believable. Anyway, as good as it was, I don't see myself watching this again anytime soon. Grade: A-

_________________
"Get busy living, or get busy dying"

Visit my site: Thief12 profile


Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:41 am
Profile WWW
Cinematographer
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:35 pm
Posts: 648
Location: Puerto Rico
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
peng wrote:
One thing I'm dissappointed (not for the wrong reason though) is that the "sexual" act she performed is depicted as a quick cut one scene. I mean, I don't want anything more graphic because it's already hard to watch, but when I read about that particular thing in the wiki I'm curious how anyone can be pushed that far to do that thing, and thought the film might attempt the build-up to it. As the movie is, the act is just very mind-boggling as it is in the news.


I think the opposite. I think that avoiding a more explicit shot keeps the film from entering a realm where it could've been more easily dismissed by some people as "exploitative" or whatever. I think that at that point it was already established how or why Becky was pushed to go so far. At this point, her confusion and fear, mixed with the uncertainty of what was happening at her house and with her brother, which the "officer" had brought up, had her in a very vulnerable situation. Plus, it is shown that Van had become slightly more aggressive as he was about to spank her, evidenced by his tone. We're talking about a drunk, strong, and aggressive male asks you to do something while a man with unknown motives is on the other end of the line doing who knows what with your family. I agree it borders on implausibility, but I don't think it goes as far as too hinder my opinion of the film. Moreover, when you realize it actually happened.

_________________
"Get busy living, or get busy dying"

Visit my site: Thief12 profile


Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:48 am
Profile WWW
Cinematographer
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:35 pm
Posts: 648
Location: Puerto Rico
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
JackBurns wrote:
Peng, I'm with you, this was a hard film to rate, let alone watch.

Compliance is a very, very disturbing film, examining the veil of authority and it's impact on the human condition. This film has pretty solid acting, nothing extraordinary, but very realistic. My main beef with Compliance is that it feels very close to entering the exploitation field. Yes, this is based on true events, but the film overall has a familiar exploitative feel. Do we need a film about these horrific prank calls? Couldn't the theme of authority be explored in a different manner? With that said Compliance only seems surface deep. It merely depicts a true event, and thats about it. Even though Compliance is showing us these awful events, it never escapes the feeling of meandering bleakness. I suppose the bleak tone doesn't help the acceptance of the events---how could someone take a man on the other end of a phone so seriously? Everyone who watches this will more than likely ask a form of this question--and the bleak tone doesn't help. I don't think Compliance is a bad film, theres just a lack of meaning at its core.


About the quote in bold, I don't understand. Couldn't we say the same about a lot of films and a lot of subjects and a lot of themes? Do we need more films about the Holocaust? Maybe not, but that wouldn't stop a great film about it to come around. As for it being "surface deep", maybe or maybe not. I think this discussion might prove otherwise. I do think it raises interesting questions about manipulation and deceit. One of the things I think the film succeeds in is in establishing Susan as a weak-willed, meek, and insecure woman who seems to be impressionable and willing to please any authority, which made her a particularly easy target for the prank caller. Also, I think the motivations of the caller deserve some thoughts. What was he trying to achieve? what was he taking from all of it? Finally, as for it being "bleak", I think that was precisely what the filmmaker wanted. And the fact that most people are calling it a "tough watch" and "uncomfortable" and so on, means that he succeeded in conveying the same feelings that the characters have to the audience.

_________________
"Get busy living, or get busy dying"

Visit my site: Thief12 profile


Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:56 am
Profile WWW
Cinematographer
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:35 pm
Posts: 648
Location: Puerto Rico
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
Awkward Beard Man wrote:
Yeah... Well it was interesting, at least in how the film reflected the events of what happened, and how people are so easily influenced by authority.... But as a movie? I don't know.

You see, if I didn't know that the movies was based on true events, and actually follows those events pretty closely, I wouldn't think of it as a good film. Because you wouldn't expect characters to ever act like that in a real situation. It's like in a horror movie where you're yelling at the characters for making stupid decisions. Normally you'd consider that poor writing in movie. But this really happened, so what are you supposed to make of it?


As the film finished, me and my wife started reading about the true events and found it to be even more horrific. "Reality is worse than fiction" I told her. In my case, knowing it was based on true events only made the film better, specifically because of what you said. When the film starts to border on implausibility, knowing it did happen puts things in perspective and makes you sit back and think "whoa, this really happened".

Awkward Beard Man wrote:
As such, it's hard to really empathise with many of the characters. Surely someone must have just an ounce of assertiveness and take control of the situation. Don't these people know their rights? It just becomes so frustrating seeing characters do such illogical things, especially when it becomes rather obvious that the man on the phone is not a police officer. Of course, in real life, there are a lot of easily influenced, none too intelligent folk. But I guess that doesn't translate too well to traditional storytelling, especially when we're supposed empathise and understand these people.


I think a lot of criticism to the film AND the real events has been directed to the manager. Deserved or not, I think the saying "Hindsight is 20/20" applies here. Lots of people argue how this happened, but they haven't been in this situation. I already said in an above post how Becky probably felt, and why I think she went along with what was happening. As for Susan, she was oblivious to most of the things that were really happening because she simply wasn't there. Sure, she should've called the police to verify, she should've called the manager before, she should've requested someone higher up, etc. but within what was shown on the film, she thought she was helping Becky by keeping her out of jail and keeping things contained. Plus, I've already said how she is established as an easily impressionable woman.

Awkward Beard Man wrote:
The ending also seemed kind of tacked on. There was absolutely no insight into who the "villain" was, why he did what he did. Which seems especially strange since the film bothers to depict him as a seemingly normal parent, with a good job, healthy diet, etc. Nor any real fallout of how the characters coped after the events, besides the engagement ending revealed in the underwhelming epilogue interview scene.


I'm speculating here, but perhaps the director shied away from any further insight into the caller to convey the fact that he ended up being acquitted of all charges. That the man got away, leaving only Becky, Susan, and Van as the only ones affected.

_________________
"Get busy living, or get busy dying"

Visit my site: Thief12 profile


Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:05 am
Profile WWW
Second Unit Director
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:51 pm
Posts: 419
Location: Durham, NC
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
Thief12 wrote:
JackBurns wrote:
Peng, I'm with you, this was a hard film to rate, let alone watch.

Compliance is a very, very disturbing film, examining the veil of authority and it's impact on the human condition. This film has pretty solid acting, nothing extraordinary, but very realistic. My main beef with Compliance is that it feels very close to entering the exploitation field. Yes, this is based on true events, but the film overall has a familiar exploitative feel. Do we need a film about these horrific prank calls? Couldn't the theme of authority be explored in a different manner? With that said Compliance only seems surface deep. It merely depicts a true event, and thats about it. Even though Compliance is showing us these awful events, it never escapes the feeling of meandering bleakness. I suppose the bleak tone doesn't help the acceptance of the events---how could someone take a man on the other end of a phone so seriously? Everyone who watches this will more than likely ask a form of this question--and the bleak tone doesn't help. I don't think Compliance is a bad film, theres just a lack of meaning at its core.


About the quote in bold, I don't understand. Couldn't we say the same about a lot of films and a lot of subjects and a lot of themes? Do we need more films about the Holocaust? Maybe not, but that wouldn't stop a great film about it to come around. As for it being "surface deep", maybe or maybe not. I think this discussion might prove otherwise. I do think it raises interesting questions about manipulation and deceit. One of the things I think the film succeeds in is in establishing Susan as a weak-willed, meek, and insecure woman who seems to be impressionable and willing to please any authority, which made her a particularly easy target for the prank caller. Also, I think the motivations of the caller deserve some thoughts. What was he trying to achieve? what was he taking from all of it? Finally, as for it being "bleak", I think that was precisely what the filmmaker wanted. And the fact that most people are calling it a "tough watch" and "uncomfortable" and so on, means that he succeeded in conveying the same feelings that the characters have to the audience.


I can understand your questioning of that statement, and of course you could say that for a bundle of films. To your Holocaust example; Would you want a film solely depicting one gruesome act from the Holocaust? Perhaps you might, and of course you could argue that it could be made into a great film. But to me this is what Compliance feels like; A film depicting a terrible event for the sake of mere depiction. I don't the the discussion here is going to unearth some underlying truth to Compliance--Yes, there are aspects you can explore, but they are all straightforward for the most part. The main avenues of thought are going to consist of thoughts revolving around authority, and thats not a bad thing. All in all, Compliance feels like a one trick pony; A series of odd events based around the theme of authority.


With all of that said, I think Compliance is a well made film. It does what it sets out to do, and embodies a feeling of constant uneasiness. But with a film containing such subject matter, I don't think the feeling of uneasiness is that hard to pull off.

_________________
"I have now come to claim that satisfaction."


Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:57 am
Profile
Director
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:42 pm
Posts: 1333
Location: Bangkok
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
No, I didn't want it to be depicted in details, I just wanted something explained. I'm disappointed because for a film that takes meticulous details in depicting the events step by step, the most shocking act is just put there and then skimped over. I don't think it would be exploitative, because in truth that scene in the movie can be cut and placed instead with the dialogue and events leading up to it, and it would be less graphic and not so jarring. I know it happened in real life, but it's such a mind-boggling and extreme turn of events that it would be great to see the filmmaker attempts to understand and explain it. (I suspect that maybe the filmmaker thought it was an impossible turn to explain too, so he opts for "also, this happens" and then passes over.)


Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:34 am
Profile
Critic
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:35 am
Posts: 7275
Location: Easton, MD
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
First of all, regardless of what everyone thought of this film, I think it was a terrific selection for our Film Club (Third Incarnation) because it got me thinking, and it got my wife thinking, and that's pretty much all you need for something like this.

My thoughts:

1. I do not feel that the movie was exploitative and feel that it worked very, very hard in order to make that a reality without short-changing the sordidness of the situation. If it hadn't shown any nudity I would have cried foul, for that would have been a gutless maneuver that denies the horror of the situation. However, when the situation reaches its inevitable climax, I admired the filmmaker's discretion.

2. Discussing the argument of whether or not more of the sexual assault/oral sex scene should have been filmed, I see both sides of the argument, but I ultimately agree with the decision of the filmmaker. To show it would have inevitably tipped his hand more towards exploitation, and the film was so credibly acted and written that I don't think it required much of a stretch of imagination to see it happening

3. My one issue with the film is that after about 35 minutes it really has no place to go. Not that it becomes boring (because the situation keeps escalating) but the moral decisions have essentially all been made once the young man refuses to help, so it's a bit less compelling.

4. For what was presumably a low budget production, I'm impressed. The acting was completely convincing throughout and the director really made the fast food restaurant believable and claustrophobic

5. Anyone else annoyed at the long take of the cop? My wife suggests it was to show how short the drive was from the police station, which is a good point (such a smart wife!) but still a boring shot.

_________________
I'm lithe and fierce as a tiger


Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:28 pm
Profile
Cinematographer
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:41 pm
Posts: 639
Location: The Desert
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
When reading material related to the film Compliance and the incident it reenacts, the famous Milgram experiment keeps popping up again and again (for anyone not familiar with it, here's a link to the Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment). The page talks about agentic state theory, where "the essence of obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view themselves as the instrument for carrying out another person's wishes, and they therefore see themselves as responsible for their actions. Once this critical shift of viewpoint has occurred in the person, all of the essential features of obedience follow." The results of the Milgram experiment showed that about 2/3rds of the participants were willing to provide fatal shocks to other people, simply because they were being told to do so by someone exerting control over them. A very similar phenomenon is happening with the events detailed in Compliance.

There's a key quote in the article I posted earlier from Dr. Thomas Blass, who wrote a book on the Milgram experiments: "They had the critical ability to decide whether to carry out their orders." Ultimately, my feeling is that it comes down to that ability of choice. Sandra had the choice to step back and come to the realization that something wasn't right, but she didn't for a long time and when she finally did the damage was already done. Becky made the choice to comply with the increasingly outrageous orders. Kevin made the choice of not going along with the caller's orders, but he also made the choice to not stand up further for Becky. Marti made the choice to blindly follow the orders of Sandra even though the situation clearly wasn't acceptable. Van made the choice to cave in to the caller completely, pushing things so far over the limit one would have thought was even possible. Finally, the maintenance man made the choice to question the situation, knocking some sense into everyone around him. I'm not sure this all speaks to the dark desires within us humans to conform to authority, because I think other factors are at play, such as the timidity on the part of Becky and the youthful inexperience of Kevin and even just simple gullibility on the part of almost everyone. Only with Van did those hidden dark desires manifest themselves completely. That idea of agentic state theory pops up again at the very end, when Sandra proclaims herself to be a victim. This is a way for her to deny her own culpability in the events, even though by complying to the orders from the other end of the phone she was playing for own complicit role in the situation. There's a moment when the interviewer shows her footage of her walking in on a naked Becky at a late stage of the incident and not reacting. This moment really sends the message of the film home, the idea that a person could surrender themselves over to control so willingly that they would become blind to the horrors happening around them.

Getting away briefly from all the subtext, the actual construction of the film itself has both its strong and weak points. For me, the acting starts off on a real false note, with attempts at "real" conversations that come across as strangely inauthentic. Bizarrely, as the film moves away from the normal scenarios at the beginning, the performances become more and more believable. The decision to reveal the caller around the halfway point felt like an act of bad faith on the part of the filmmakers. His presence is much more potent as just a voice on the other end of a phone, and his reveal doesn't amount to much beyond the now-somewhat-clichéd "he's just an ordinary family man" twist. Yes, this was how it was in reality, but the film is not really about him, it's about the people he's manipulating. Lastly, it's a cruel film in many ways, obviously, but not just because of the subject matter but also because of its nihilistically one-note perspective on humanity. I do think the film slightly undermines its point by not at least acknowledging the other times over the years when the caller's targets were not fooled, when the store managers made the choice to not go along with the directions. Maybe the filmmakers didn't think it was necessary to include that kind of information at the end, but I think it would have given at least a little reassuring shimmer of hope to a film that is otherwise oppressively bleak in both its content and its overall implications.

With all that said, the film is undeniably effective, and the implications of these kinds of incidents/experiments are genuinely frightening. Does everyone have that dark side to them, that subconscious desire to comply to orders? My instinct tells me no, that in most cases something like the events shown in this film would never be allowed to escalate out of control, but the large number of times the caller was able to assert his will over his targets over a span of several years suggests a different answer. Despite some of the false notes of the film itself, it is very effective at confronting us with that idea, and that question of what we would do if we were put in a similar kind of situation, and for that I would label it as a success. 7/10.

_________________
"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool."
Letterboxd Profile


Last edited by Blonde Almond on Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:57 pm, edited 4 times in total.



Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:29 pm
Profile WWW
Second Unit Director
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:51 pm
Posts: 419
Location: Durham, NC
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
I think Compliance comes very, very close to exploitation--it never becomes an exploitation film, but it feels like its right on its proverbial door step. So much so, that the director has to be discrete with certain situations in order to not come across as fully explotative. The film's urgency and suspense is based on the sexual humiliation of a girl; this can't be denied as slightly exploitative, regardless of it being based on real events. On one hand I admire the detailed account and the grounded realism, but on the other I can't help but see this film as wavering very closely to "shocksploitation."

_________________
"I have now come to claim that satisfaction."


Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:32 pm
Profile
Second Unit Director
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:51 pm
Posts: 419
Location: Durham, NC
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
Blonde Almond wrote:
His presence is much more potent as just a voice on the other end of a phone, and his reveal doesn't amount to much beyond the now-somewhat-clichéd "he's just an ordinary family man" twist. Yes, this was how it was in reality, but the film is not really about him, it's about the people he's manipulating. Lastly, it's a cruel film in many ways, obviously, but not just because of the subject matter but also because of its nihilistically one-note perspective on humanity. I do think the film slightly undermines its point by not at least acknowledging the other times over the years when the caller's targets were not fooled, when the store managers made the choice to not go along with the directions. Maybe the filmmakers didn't think it was necessary to include that kind of information at the end, but I think it would have given at least a little reassuring shimmer of hope to a film that is otherwise oppressively bleak in both its content and its overall implications.


Agreed.

_________________
"I have now come to claim that satisfaction."


Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:39 pm
Profile
Critic
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:35 am
Posts: 7275
Location: Easton, MD
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
JackBurns wrote:
Blonde Almond wrote:
His presence is much more potent as just a voice on the other end of a phone, and his reveal doesn't amount to much beyond the now-somewhat-clichéd "he's just an ordinary family man" twist. Yes, this was how it was in reality, but the film is not really about him, it's about the people he's manipulating. Lastly, it's a cruel film in many ways, obviously, but not just because of the subject matter but also because of its nihilistically one-note perspective on humanity. I do think the film slightly undermines its point by not at least acknowledging the other times over the years when the caller's targets were not fooled, when the store managers made the choice to not go along with the directions. Maybe the filmmakers didn't think it was necessary to include that kind of information at the end, but I think it would have given at least a little reassuring shimmer of hope to a film that is otherwise oppressively bleak in both its content and its overall implications.


Agreed.


I think it's very valuable that we see how his character is presented. Not just the "normal family man" stuff, since that's been done before, but the de-sexualized nature of his actions. He isn't masturbating. He isn't breathing heavily. He's just laughing quite a bit about what he's getting away with. He's not a pervert, he's enjoying the power.

And I completely disagree with the use of the word nihilism, to the point where I don't know if you know what it means. The movie is not nihilistic -- it is just very negative in its view of humanity.

_________________
I'm lithe and fierce as a tiger


Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:48 pm
Profile
Cinematographer
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:35 pm
Posts: 648
Location: Puerto Rico
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
Blonde Almond wrote:
The decision to reveal the caller around the halfway point felt like an act of bad faith on the part of the filmmakers. His presence is much more potent as just a voice on the other end of a phone, and his reveal doesn't amount to much beyond the now-somewhat-clichéd "he's just an ordinary family man" twist. Yes, this was how it was in reality, but the film is not really about him, it's about the people he's manipulating.


I disagree. To me, showing the caller added a new layer of complexity to the situation. By showing him in such a carefree manner, while sparking all those horrible things on the other side, makes me wonder what was the real motivation behind the calls. It strips him of any one-dimensional "villainy" and shows us that the caller could be anyone, the prank could've been any of the pranks some of us could've done. This is no basement-dwelling psycho with rotten ears hanging on his walls. Just a guy doing this horrific things, seemingly for the kicks of it.

Blonde Almond wrote:
Lastly, it's a cruel film in many ways, obviously, but not just because of the subject matter but also because of its nihilistically one-note perspective on humanity. I do think the film slightly undermines its point by not at least acknowledging the other times over the years when the caller's targets were not fooled, when the store managers made the choice to not go along with the directions. Maybe the filmmakers didn't think it was necessary to include that kind of information at the end, but I think it would have given at least a little reassuring shimmer of hope to a film that is otherwise oppressively bleak in both its content and its overall implications.


Again, I disagree. Like you said above, the film wasn't about the caller or the scope of his scam. It was about the people he was manipulating. Shifting the focus to other cases would've deflated the effect of the main characters situation. The script chooses to focus on a specific set of people because it wants to show us how the manipulation works on them, and how they are affected by it. To explore the psyche of those involved, instead of the scope of the scam. And by doing so, we can understand the extent of what happened. The epilogue, or the real events accounts we've all read, add up to the scope of that. The fact that we, and a lot of people I know, have read about the real scam afterwards, is maybe a sign that the film didn't need to show the rest.

_________________
"Get busy living, or get busy dying"

Visit my site: Thief12 profile


Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:00 pm
Profile WWW
Cinematographer
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:35 pm
Posts: 648
Location: Puerto Rico
Post Re: Film Club Discussion: Compliance
James beat me to the point about the caller, but we are more or less on the same page.

_________________
"Get busy living, or get busy dying"

Visit my site: Thief12 profile


Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:01 pm
Profile WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 56 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Exabot [Bot], PeachyPete and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forum/DivisionCore.
Translated by Xaphos © 2007, 2008, 2009 phpBB.fr