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.
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Critic Reviews for Compliance
A riveting, horrifying film, shot through with beautifully observed moments of unwelcome truth.
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.
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.
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.
This is one insistent film, more evocative of human behavior than movies that take fewer risks ever could be.
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.
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.
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.
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