Psychological chiller inspired by bizarre true events. Staff at a fast food restaurant find themselves exceeding legal and moral boundaries after a young female staff member is accused of theft. On a particularly busy day at a suburban Ohio fast food joint, high-strung manager Sandra (Ann Dowd, Garden State) receives a phone call saying that the police suspect one of her employees, Becky (Dreama Walker, Dont Trust the B---- in Apartment 23), has stolen money from a customer. Convinced she's only doing what's right, Sandra commences the investigation, following increasingly invasive step-by-step instructions.... More

Written and directed by Craig Zobel, one of the founders of Homestar Runner.Hide

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Flicks Review

I thought I was desensitised to pretty much anything a movie screen could show me, as most of my generation would claim. However, Compliance slapped me in my ignorant face and reminded me what stomach-plummeting distress felt like.... More

When a fast-food manager tells one of her employees that an officer on the phone is accusing her of theft, the attractive teenage girl in question is then interrogated by her colleagues via over-the-phone commands. As these instructions become more disturbing, we witness how far ordinary people are willing to go to please an authority figure. It’s a frighteningly convincing display of the Milgram experiment placed in a sickening scenario, made even more horrific by the fact that it’s based on true events.

Ann Dowd delivers a stand-out performance as the overworked middle-aged manager (one that the Academy will fail to recognise). Two qualities make her character susceptible to the caller’s influence: her irritating arrogance and her longing to be appreciated by her peers. While the former prevents us from giving her our complete sympathy, the latter stops us from vilifying her as well. Dowd expertly maintains this balance, creating a fascinating moral ambiguity that lingers with you long after the film’s conclusion.

Some contrived dialog choices can break the film’s sense of reality, making you wonder “Why doesn’t he/she mention x?” These parts are few and far between, but they’re frustrating enough to take you momentarily out of the film.

Nevertheless, Compliance is a brilliant psychological thriller that I’d struggle to watch a second time. I haven’t been so tastefully disturbed by a movie for quite a while.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 3 ratings, 2 reviews
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BY freshdude superstar

This little American indie film will not leave you unaffected. An amazingly strange but true story that says a lot about western society, the power of authority and how far we'd go to comply with it.
The cast is brilliant, especially Dreama Walker and Ann Dowd who give a very convincing performance. And no doubt if the film didn't surprise you enough, the true statistics given on the end credits will.
I'd say it's a must see film, but be mentally prepared for a tense hour and a half.

BY AliasAlli wannabe

Ooh, this movie got me angry.

I guarantee you will be appalled, amazed, disgusted, gobsmacked and you may even leave feeling a bit dirty.

That's how good it is.

Showing 2 of 2 reviews. See all reviews

The Press Reviews

89% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • The subject matter is unrelentingly sordid yet the storytelling is so deadpan and understated that it's difficult, if not impossible, to dismiss it as exploitation or sexist provocation. Full Review

  • This is a well-made film, with plausible performances by all the leads, especially Ann Dowd. Full Review

  • Likely to spur discussions about workplace safety, employee rights and broader awareness of sexual predation, 'Compliance' is also a suspenseful psychological drama for viewers prepared to tolerate its extremes. Full Review

  • If this riveting, repelling film is to be seen, it must be not at home but in a theater, where you are confined in a room, like Sandra and Becky, deciding whether to watch, and how you would react. Full Review

  • You can't believe what you're watching: 'Compliance', true to its title, digs into the rarely explored subject of psychological acquiescence (behavioural scientist Stanley Milgram should get a co-writing credit), with common-sense dignity being the first casualty. Full Review

  • In taut, gripping and deeply disturbing fashion, writer-director Craig Zobel measures the depths to which rational individuals will sink to obey a self-anointed authority figure in 'Compliance'. Full Review

  • Snapshots of greasy fries and slimy grills pump up the unsavory atmosphere, while Heather McIntosh's ominous, cello-driven score plucks our nerves and stirs our stomachs. Full Review

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