Compliance (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

Compliance (2012)



Critic Consensus: Anchored by smart, sensitive direction and strong performances, Complicance is a ripped-from-the-headlines thriller that's equal parts gripping and disturbing.

Movie Info

Becky and Sandra aren't the best of friends. Sandra is a middle-aged manager at a fast-food restaurant; Becky is a teenaged counter girl who really needs the job. One stressful day (too many customers and too little bacon), a police officer calls, accusing Becky of stealing money from a customer's purse, which she vehemently denies. Sandra, overwhelmed by her managerial responsibilities, complies with the officer's orders to detain Becky. This choice begins a nightmare that tragically blurs the lines between expedience and prudence, legality and reason. -- (C) Magnoliamore
Rating: R (for language and sexual content/nudity)
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Craig Zobel
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 8, 2013
Box Office: $0.3M
Magnolia Pictures - Official Site


Ann Dowd
as Sandra
Pat Healy
as Officer Daniels
James McCaffrey
as Detective Neals
Matt Servitto
as Supplier
John Merolla
as Customer
Desmin Borges
as Officer Morris
Matt Skibiak
as Robert Gilmour
Maren McKee
as Daughter
Raymond McAnally
as Portland Detective
George Asatrian
as Convenience Store Cl...
Jeffrey Grover
as Television Journalis...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Compliance

Critic Reviews for Compliance

All Critics (132) | Top Critics (38)

Dark, disturbing, confrontational stuff. Also a damn good film.

Full Review… | August 24, 2015

Compliance is diminutively sufficient and blandly adequate with no additional layers that elevate its small independent nature. It feels rather one note riding on the promise of a distinctive tale that never totally comes to fulfillment.

Full Review… | September 14, 2014

A frightening look at the power of authority and the human desire to avoid conflict.

Full Review… | December 15, 2013
Cinema Sight

It never loses sight of its goal to persuade us to be more aware, more questioning of our leaders and institutions, from politicians to priests to, in this case, the police.

Full Review… | May 26, 2013
The Patriot Ledger

The only film of 2012 that had me actively booing its villain - a mundane monster who doesn't need to touch his victims to scar them for life.

Full Review… | May 22, 2013
Seven Days

Compliance is a horror movie with no sudden frights, no gore, and not a single scream. It's a surveillance video, capturing us with all our blemishes; a reminder that how we see ourselves is so rarely in line with the truth

Full Review… | May 5, 2013

Audience Reviews for Compliance

You will be hard pressed to find a more disturbing thriller this year. Compliance is a harrowing experience, made all the more stressful when you see the terrible way these characters behave thinking the law is on their side.
The film is ultimately a testament not just to our inability to question authority but our unwillingness to. We the audience sit helplessly as we watch a young woman humiliated by people who are supposed to be her friends, all in the name of compliance to what they think is a police officer.
This film explores the dark side of humanity in a way that few films have. It does it with minimal locations and a phone. When the credits rolled I couldn't believe this was based on a true story. Then I looked up the actual case this film was based on. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the events happened exactly as they were told in the film, and how unsettling it is to know that it happened 70 different times and that the perpetrator was acquitted.

Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer

Good film, but scary to think it is based on real events.
Trying to put myself in the place of the manager who is phoned by the police and convinced that her employee stole from a customers purse, I am trying to think at what point I personally would have said that's enough. It certainly wouldn't have got to the strip search, I can safely say that much. You would also have to be questioning if the customer is actually telling the truth in the first place, and for that matter, who is this customer.
Staggeringly naive, but I can understand maybe someone being fooled - but at what point would you say no, I will not he doing that, come down yourself?!
I can't even get my head around leaving a half naked young girl with male employees and then your boyfriend while you go and serve customers.
Certainly an interesting and disturbing film and maybe a cautionary tale for the more gullible of us.

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

A fast food manager receives a call from the police claiming that one her employees is guilty of theft and that the manager should subject her to more and more brutal searches.
With stellar, understated performances, Compliance is difficult to watch unless one can maintain one's disbelief. I know I'm not supposed to laugh at this film, but I did because the characters' gullibility defies believability. The opening credits triumph that this was based on actual events, and if I hadn't looked up the real case beforehand, I would not have believed it were possible. Heavy-handed in its anti-authority message, the film does well when it shows us what happened, but by the end of it, I still can't understand why it happened.
Overall, we should all watch this film and be able to laugh at it, but alas, the world remains unhumorous.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Compliance Quotes

Marti: Van was a lucky man.
– Submitted by Lizzie J (2 years ago)
Van: I did a bad thing...
– Submitted by Thomas Z (3 years ago)
Marti: You don't have a customer... I want you to clean, clean, clean!
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
Sandra: I'll do... everything that you need.
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

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