Do as you’re told

It was only fitting that an audio-video synchronization hiccup blanked out the movie screen at the Tivoli Theatre as the 72 point text read “Based on a true story.”

Here’s the true story of the progression of last night’s events — spoiler-free. My best friend, Andrew Henke, and I took to the city last night after I received free passes for a pre-screening of a Sundance film festival selection “Compliance,” directed by Craig Zobel.

The movie in question seemed ever so intriguing. Andrew and I had both done prior research on the movie and its contents separately, and then watched the trailer almost immediately before departing for the Delmar loop that evening.

I distinctly remember Andrew reading aloud from a statement within a review from a fellow film connoisseur on

He had plainly stated that, “The movie was beyond uncomfortable to view and elicited disgust, dismay, and a growing exodus of viewers.”

In retrospect, that statement was pretty on par; however, in the moment, Andrew and I dismissed that comment without so much as a blink of an eye.

We could not have been more wrong.

Put simply, it was an experience. Not to say that the film itself was bad, but the shock value of the content was … paralyzing? To the point where we were visibly shaking due to the acts taking place on the screen — helpless in our cushioned seats, forced, along with the rest of the audience, to wait it out.

The helplessness was what really took the cake. My favorite element of the film that added to the feeling of general helplessness. was that the movie itself was shot in an almost documentary style, pressing the audience to continue watching until this “loose history” had finally unraveled itself.

Many of the audience members exited the theatre throughout the film (I’m guessing they were those who were never informed that the scenes in the film actually took place in 2004) I myself thought about it, but was too engrossed to continue the train of thought.

On a lighter note — and a testament to the unbelievability the film embodies — at arguably the film’s most racy moment, a particularly vocal woman leaned over to Andrew and I and said, “Are we getting Punk’d?!”

As Andrew and I debated, laughed, and vented on the car ride home, we compared our outrage to that of a similar emotional provocation we had while participating in the fall play last October, “The Crucible.” Wrongly accused and crudely treated, you couldn’t help but harbor frustration for those involved — for the real trauma that real people had to endure.

In closing, I recommend viewing the film — or at least looking up a synopsis — to become better informed on these true events and the atrocities that took place. You’ll at least come away with a fresh argumentative topic and an uncontrollable urge to scream out on the car ride home. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, shoot them my way at [email protected]. Godspeed.