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Compliance Reviews

Tom Huddleston
Time Out
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A riveting, horrifying film, shot through with beautifully observed moments of unwelcome truth.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 4/5

February 26, 2013
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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Compliance is one of the toughest sits of the movie year 2012. But it's an uncompromising and, in its way, honorable drama built upon a prank call that goes on and on, getting worse and worse for the people on the other end of the line.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3/4

January 8, 2013
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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The point of Compliance, which caused walkouts and shouting matches when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, is how we are programmed to do things that go against our natural instincts as long as we believe we have the law on our side.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 1/4

September 23, 2012
Cary Darling
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/
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There's the adage that life is nasty, brutish and short. It's even worse when you're half-naked and locked in a supply room with your boss.

Full Review Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram/ | Original Score: 5/5

September 22, 2012
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
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This is one insistent film, more evocative of human behavior than movies that take fewer risks ever could be.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 4.5/5

September 6, 2012
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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Like a John Hughes movie hijacked by Roman Polanski, this troubling indie effort lays bare the sadomasochism of the American workplace.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

August 31, 2012
Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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A disturbing, fact-based look at the ways in which people can be bullied into bowing to the demands of authority figures.

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 3.5/4

August 30, 2012
Rafer Guzman
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Zobel, a second-time feature filmmaker, has put together a skillful, sympathetic but unsparing re-enactment of a small-scale atrocity, and his cast plays it out with natural, understated performances.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3/4

August 30, 2012
Jim Brunzell III
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Zobel's masterful direction and screenplay heighten the distress of authority figures possessing unseen persuasion over naive employees, exposing a disturbing and haunting look at what some workers are willing to do in order to follow orders.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 4/4

August 30, 2012
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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This is a well-made film, with plausible performances by all the leads, especially Ann Dowd. We feel we know people like this.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3/4

August 30, 2012
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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Fails its first test, which is that the audience believe every word of it.

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 2/4

August 24, 2012
Amy Biancolli
San Francisco Chronicle
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We feel like gutless witnesses to a crime.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

August 23, 2012
Sheri Linden
Los Angeles Times
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That the thriller is based on real incidents only magnifies its effect.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

August 23, 2012
Soren Anderson
Seattle Times
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One watches in horrified fascination, and a greater horror comes when one realizes that, placed in the same kind of situation, one might react in the same way.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 4/4

August 23, 2012
Tirdad Derakhshani
Philadelphia Inquirer
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A harrowing, gut-wrenching fable about power and authority that shows that even the most well-adjusted, ordinary person could be tempted to degrade and dehumanize their neighbor.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 3.5/4

August 23, 2012
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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Too condescending to be trusted, too manipulative to be believed, too turgid to be enjoyed, too shameless to be endured and, before and after everything else, too inept to make its misanthropic case.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

August 23, 2012
Mark Feeney
Boston Globe
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There is a level of stupidity displayed by the people in this movie that beggars belief. Their behavior is to stupidity as the Death Star is to a doughnut.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 0.5/4

August 23, 2012
Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
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Compliance ends up being about certain things that it would rather not be about.

Full Review Source: MSN Movies | Original Score: 3/5

August 20, 2012
Christopher Orr
The Atlantic
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Ultimately what is fascinating about Compliance is its suggestion of the near-universality, and ultimate mundanity, of the totalitarian reflex.

Full Review Source: The Atlantic

August 20, 2012
Dana Stevens
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It's a deeply moral movie about the failure of morality, as grueling to watch as it is necessary.

Full Review Source: Slate

August 17, 2012
David Denby
New Yorker
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Watching Compliance recently, I also began to squirm and talk back, but not because I disliked the movie, which I think is brilliant.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

August 17, 2012
Farran Smith Nehme
New York Post
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It's a highly political work about how some people can be made to do vile things just for the wispiest promise that the powers above will go a little bit easier on them.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 4/4

August 17, 2012
Jeannette Catsoulis
New York Times
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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 Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

August 16, 2012
Ian Buckwalter
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A wickedly compelling thriller, a skin-crawling, stranger-than-fiction examination of the darkest power of authority.

Full Review Source: NPR | Original Score: 6.5/10

August 16, 2012
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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Compliance is torture to sit through. It's also indispensable filmmaking. This fact-based movie is going to present you with questions that will haunt you long after you leave the theater.

Full Review Source: Rolling Stone | Original Score: 3/4

August 16, 2012
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
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[It] has a sharp psychological point and a can't-look-away quality even as it turns horrifically dark.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/5

August 16, 2012
James Berardinelli
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Disturbing and unlikely as it may be, this stuff actually happened, and pretty much as Craig Zobel relates it.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3.5/4

August 16, 2012
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out New York
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The movie's frightening momentum can't be denied; indeed, it's the whole point.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 4/5

August 14, 2012
William Goss
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A fairly deliberate and effective piece of provocation.

Full Review Source:

August 14, 2012
Bruce Demara
Toronto Star
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Zobel has created a tale that will leave audiences angry if not downright nauseated by journey's end.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 3/4

August 10, 2012
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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Zobel shoots his queasy little psych test with I'm-just-the-messenger documentary neutrality, challenging as he goes: Do you want to look away now? How about now? Will you walk out?

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: A-

August 8, 2012
James Rocchi
MSN Movies
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Compliance is a fascinating and deeply unsettling version of true events, but it goes past that, with art and honesty.

Full Review Source: MSN Movies | Original Score: 4.5/5

August 8, 2012
Adam Litovitz
Globe and Mail
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Compliance develops an intriguing premise intelligently, inquisitively and uncomfortably.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

August 3, 2012
Aaron Hillis
Village Voice
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Among the highlights [of BAMcinemaFest]... Provocative!

Full Review Source: Village Voice

June 21, 2012
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
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It's not just about some woefully misguided fast-food employees: it's about the scared, intimidated and unquestioning follower in all of us.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: B+

January 25, 2012
Noel Murray
AV Club
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The cast here is so terrific that they turn a movie that takes place almost entirely in one dingy room into rich theater...

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: B

January 25, 2012
Justin Chang
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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 Source: Variety

January 24, 2012
Justin Lowe
Hollywood Reporter
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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 Source: Hollywood Reporter

January 23, 2012
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