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Disturbing Movie ‘Compliance’ Recreates Actual Sick Prank from Kentucky Fast Food Restaurant [VIDEO]

YouTube/Magnolia Pictures

On a busy Friday night at a fast food restaurant in a small town in Ohio, the restaurant’s manager receives a phone call from someone who claims to be a police officer. The man says that one of her employees stole money from a customer and that that customer is sitting there with him along with the restaurant manager’s district supervisor.

The man tells the manager to bring the girl back into her office and go through her pockets and her purse. The manager complies and finds nothing. At this point, the man on the phone tells the manager that the employee must be strip-searched because she’s probably hiding the money in her clothes.

The manager is obviously reluctant to conduct such a search but the man on the phone convinces her that the alternative for the employee is an arrest and a night in jail and that an on-site strip search would be quicker and would clear things up on the spot. The employee agrees to the search, stripping down to her underwear.

The man on the phone then tells the manager, who has brought an assistant manager back into the office so that a third party can be present, that the girl’s underwear should be removed as well. Outrageous as that sounds, the manager once again complies, despite objections from her assistant manager.

As the night wears on and the restaurant gets busier and busier, it becomes necessary for the manager to be in the front of the house, so the man on the phone tells her to get someone to watch this employee in her absence. Her surrogate ultimately becomes very uncomfortable and leaves the room. There are subsequent replacements that lead to an escalation of the predicament and then something truly horrible.

Compliance is based on an actual incident that happened at a McDonald’s in Mt. Washington, Kentucky in 2004. I Googled that incident and learned that writer-director Craig Zobel has re-created it to the letter. Only names–including the restaurant’s–have been changed.

I’ve read where people who’ve screened this film actually got up and walked out because of how appalled they were at how the employees of this restaurant handled this situation. Even I was sitting there in my living room–I watched it on Video On Demand–thinking how idiotic this all was.

But then after the film’s end, a title card came up that said there had been 70 such occurrences in the United States leading up to the one in 2004 on which this movie was based. “Appalled” doesn’t cut it.

This is a very disturbing but very good movie because it reveals that there are those who will totally cave in and behave outlandishly when they think they are speaking with an authority figure. And, by the way, Ann Dowd–the actress who plays the manager–is terrific.

Google the Milgram Experiment for another example of human behavior that belies normal instincts. I wonder how many of us are capable of such behavior, even if we do not realize it.

That’s the scary part.

 

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