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“Compliance” (2012) Mini-Review

Compliance poster

The quick pitch on “Compliance” is this – it is a film based on a true story regarding one particularly abhorrent incident in a series involving calls placed to fast food chains with the perpetrator claiming to be a police officer and requesting those on the line to perform destestable actions. This basic premise forms the movie, and as such, the film takes place entirely within this particular fast food chain (most scenes occuring in the backroom). This claustrophobic nature of the film, along with the sincerity of the cast’s performances are major positives. Yet, though the film is only90 minutes long, it feels much longer.

I can understand Craig Zobel’s rationale for the length of the film – I’m sure he wanted to include as many of the shocking details about the event as possible. Yet, some pieces were exaggerated or fictional and there is plenty of room to trim this film down. I feel the film could have worked very well as a short film, running at about an hour. Yet, as it stands, it begins to feel almost tortuous at times (partly due to the disturbing reality and content of the film, which is a positive that the film can create such a gut reaction). Honestly, this is the biggest and most glaring negative for the film, and really the one thing that drags the overall movie down. That being said, I have to give credit to the cast of the film. Ann Dowd and Dreama Walker star and give very sincere performances, with the rest of the cast doing a great job as well. This really makes every developing scene tough to watch.

Overall, “Compliance” is a unique film. It is very straightforward and sticks to its source material closely. To the uneducated viewer, the movie would seem completely farfetched. But to believe these events actually happened is a harrowing look into how a group of people could act in such unbelievable ways. Cutting down its length would make the film more powerful and avoidwearing out its welcome, but as it stands, it is still an unusual, yet interesting film.

Final Score – 7.0/10


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2 thoughts on ““Compliance” (2012) Mini-Review

  1. Good review. After awhile I wanted to slap these people silly, but I guess that’s what it wanted me to do. For that, I applaud the film makers, and frown-upon the actual-people that this is based off of.

    • Thanks. The movie really accomplishes its goal, though it drags, by pushing the viewer to the brink by making them feel powerless to do anything. Hard to believe that very little of the actual situation was exaggerated for the film.

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