By: Darryl M. Yo (Two Beers) –
Be warned, this movie will burn lasting impressions into your brain. With cold visuals and brilliant acting, this think-piece opens your eyes to what the worst of humanity is capable of doing to others. It forces you to question who is right and who is wrong and dares you to say that in the same position you would have acted differently.
Director Craig Zobel is brave enough to tell this horrifying true story and base it very closely to the actual events. The employees of the fast food restaurant Chickwich become victims to a man clever enough with only his words to convince them that he is a police officer investigating a crime committed by one of their fellow coworkers. By speaking to them over the phone he is able to dangle his false power of authority over them and manipulate these innocent and good people to perform horrible and unforgivable acts.
From start to finish this captivating film grips your attention and does not let go. Zobel’s visual style just adds to the uncertain atmosphere that surrounds these characters. The acting is superb on all parts and one can only imagine how challenged these actors were carrying out such roles of psychological distress in a claustrophobic setting.
Even before Chickwich is set to open, Sarah (Ann Dowd), the restaurant manager, is already stressed because necessary items are not available for their normal inventory. As the day progresses she gets a phone call from a police officer claiming that someone just came from her restaurant and is accusing one of her staff of stealing money from her. Becky (Dreama Walker, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23), a young and attractive cashier, is taken into the office of the restaurant and speaks to the police officer. Officer Daniels (Pat Healy, The Innkeepers) gives Becky a choice. He can come down to the restaurant and arrest her on the spot or he can have Sarah strip search her right there to clear everything up. With a compelling mix of demanding and reassuring words by Officer Daniels a decision is made by both Sarah and Becky, thus entering them into a chain of events that lead to many levels of psychological abuse on the unsuspecting employees of Chickwich.
You may remember the events for which this movie is based on. What Zobel is able to do is create a depiction of the events that show you how convincing and manipulative this alleged police officer is. To see it played out in front of your eyes gives you a clear understanding of how such innocent people were so deceived and manipulated. As Sarah, Becky, and others continue to fall under Officer Daniels’ spell you feel a needle constantly pricking at your heart. It is hard to watch as they are being so easily toyed with, yet you cannot take your eyes off the screen.
There is something to be said about this film. It tests your judgement. It puts you in a position to question authority and determines if you actually would. That is essentially what Officer Daniels knew. He knew all he had to say was that he was a police officer and act the part. From there no one questioned him. Everyone obeyed him and despite doing things they knew were wrong, they felt everything was ok since they were aiding an officer. This is an important film. It makes us aware of what kind of people are out there and what they are capable of. It is also a reminder that under stressful conditions we need to place value in our own judgments even if it means that we have to question the decisions of an authority figure.
Because of the type of abuse Becky experiences this movie will immediately become the subject of controversy. In spite of the emotion and intellect behind it there will be those who will just be appalled. There is no way around it; it is a disturbing movie. It is not for the faint of heart. You’ve been warned.
This movie is a masterpiece. It is emotional, heart-wrenching, and jaw-dropping. However, it is not for everyone. The opening shots state that this movie is based on true events and the movie itself just feels awfully real. It is a truly sad story and it will leave you with a feeling of shock and disgust. Certain images burn in your brain for days. I don’t mean to suggest that this is some kind of horror movie; it’s not. There is no threat of death or anything like that, but the psychological abuse the characters take, most especially Becky, is controversial and hard-hitting. It is because of how impacting this film is that I consider it to be a masterpiece; however, I am not blind to the fact that there will be many people out there that will be outraged and repulsed. As I said, it’s just not for everyone.
Take a Drink: for every time Officer Daniels convinces someone to do something they don’t want to do
Take a Drink: whenever someone takes a stance against Officer Daniels
Take a Drink: every time Officer Daniels is verbally intimidating
Take a Drink: every time you see a phone
Take a Drink: every time the story escalates beyond the believable then you remember it really happened
Do a Shot: if you get depressed. It’ll help 😉
Follow the Cast and Crew:
Becky, played by Dreama Walker
Officer Daniels, played by Pat Healy
Twitter: @Pat_Healy (Unverified)
Director Craig Zobel
Thanks for stopping by!