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August 20, 2012


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Chris L.

Also just read the Siren's four-star rave at the NY Post. Should make for a real discussion here, since the debate on this film isn't cast along gender lines to the degree one might expect.

Indeed, I'm unsure what to make of such diverging analyses (and won't be able to see the film unless it shows up on VOD), but I wonder if the "Beasts of the Southern Wild" fracas has many viewers wary of a director's possible condescension toward disadvantaged characters. If, indeed, that is happening here. Or there.

Peter Labuza

No this movie is bullshit. GK is much more balanced and fair to it than I am, but I don't think its fair to say that the awareness of problematic politics in "Beasts" is responsible for the response to "Compliance" (for one thing, GK was mostly on board with the former; and the premiere of the latter was not exactly without hostility: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/risky-business/sundance-2012-compliance-premiere-283782). I think the difference in the films is that in the former, Zeitlin kind of accidentally stumbles through political material, but that's not his interest at all. Zobel directly wants to say something about our state of authority and the psychology of the recession, he just does it in a very condescending way. I was actually somewhat (read: somewhat) on board with this film for about the first 30 minutes (though subtract the god-awful first ten), because I didn't actually know the true story. So when Zobel pulls the curtain much too early, the only thing left is "how far can they go," which excuse my language, is frankly bullshit.

Chris L.

I wasn't calling Glenn's perspective into question, but rather weighing the broader response to these films. (Again, haven't seen "Compliance," and may never see it.)

When the movie surfaced at Sundance, it seemed Mr. Labuza's view would be by far the dominant one. (See also Amy Taubin's notice in Film Comment.) Consensus then seems to soften upon commercial release. Your points are well taken, though.

Tom B.

Reading Glenn's plot description, I think "Compliance" is a soft, Hollywoody version of the key "real-life" incident that inspired the film. (I suppose I should see it to compare it to reality.) Said incident happened 20 or so miles from where I live in Kentucky. The class issues and perceived condescension are part 'n' parcel of the real event. Pretty much unavoidable if you want to be reasonably accurate, I'd say, based on the news coverage I read. You could look it up.

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