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.

Compliance Videos

Compliance Photos

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) Magnolia
R (for language and sexual content/nudity)
Drama , Mystery & Suspense , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Box Office:

Watch it now


Ann Dowd
as Sandra
Pat Healy
as Officer Daniels
James McCaffrey
as Detective Neals
Matt Servitto
as Supplier
Nikiya Mathis
as Connie
Stephen Payne
as Harold
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 Clerk
Jeffrey Grover
as Television Journalist
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Compliance

Critic Reviews for Compliance

All Critics (133) | Top Critics (39)

A riveting, horrifying film, shot through with beautifully observed moments of unwelcome truth.

Full Review… | February 26, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

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… | January 8, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

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… | September 23, 2012
Miami Herald
Top Critic

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… | September 21, 2012
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/
Top Critic

This is one insistent film, more evocative of human behavior than movies that take fewer risks ever could be.

Full Review… | September 6, 2012
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Like a John Hughes movie hijacked by Roman Polanski, this troubling indie effort lays bare the sadomasochism of the American workplace.

Full Review… | August 31, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Compliance

Law Abiding Citizens!!

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

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
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
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

Compliance Quotes

Discussion Forum

Discuss Compliance on our Movie forum!

News & Features