Compliance, 2012 – ★★★★

This is one of the highest tension, most horrifying, first 3/4s of a movie ever. The tension and conflict in Ann Dowd is spectacular, and the terrified, yet resigned, reluctance from Dreama Walker is haunting. Both women are powerhouses here. Walker giving a fearless performance, and Dowd’s steely resolve rarely shaking. The true story behind the movie is also horrifying, and perhaps unsurprising, how many unsuspecting people could be roped into doing what they themselves knew were despicable acts. While the film doesn’t use the phrase “I was only following orders.” it may well be the embodiment of it. My only qualm here is with the final bits, which are an interview with Dowd’s character. I would’ve much rather they been with Walker, as the movie is abuse of her, and we deserved to see her through, even as we the audience witnessed with complicity. Though made 8 years ago, it feels very much of this time, the claustrophobic rising panic, the desperation to figure out a way out of the horrors that are creeping. Just marvelous.

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