User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 59 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 59
  2. Negative: 10 out of 59

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  1. Feb 25, 2013
    Compliance is just about one of the most abhorrent films I've ever seen.

    In 2007, there were 70 exceptional cases were reported across to the American Police department. While they all had their own, unsettling idiosyncrasies, they were all loosely connected by subterfuge and prank calls. This is no Steve Penk or The Jerky Boys, but real vile cases of human maltreatment.

    It's an
    extraordinary topic that is crying out to be debunked in an explorative, Errol Morris style documentary. Compliance isn't that film.

    Writer/director Craig Zobel decides to focus this seeming pandemic on one exceptional example, based on a mélange of different real cases to make one mega-horrific fictional one. It's just another regular day at an Ohio fast food chain, until a meticulous prank caller convinces the restaurant manager (Ann Dowd) that one of her employees Becky, Gossip Girl's Dreama Walker, is being accused of stealing from a customer. What proceeds is a manipulating interrogation, where everyone idly agrees to whatever increasingly insane task the caller will have them do. Why? Without proving any of his credentials, the prank caller deceives everyone involved into believing that he is a police officer, and thus establishing his unobjectionable authority. By Compliance's nasty end, Becky is naked, humiliated, and sexually violated, and the audience are accomplices; watching on through guarded eyes and clenched fists.

    Even though the story comes from a bastardised real place, Zobel really pushes the boundaries of plausibility. Not in a "stranger than fiction" way, but rather because the characterisation, narrative, and Zobel's misguided compulsion to tell it, is shallow. The ninety minute running time lingers for what feels like days and, whilst the repetitious sequences are relatively tame and implicit, it all feels incredibly ugly and exploitative; as if Zobel is forcing the audience to watch a security camera.

    At it's most tenuous, one could wring-out a slapdash argument that the film is forcing the audience to look at this injustice like a reflexive meta-narrative, like Haneke's Funny Games. Unlike the unflinchingly austere Austrian, Zobel lacks directorial flare and balls to actually critique or comment on the true events and populace servility to the law.

    Even when the film was snapped up at the Sundance Film Festival last year, it was met with notoriety, with walkouts and boos. Later, in a public Q&A, Zobel plainly admitted that the film is misogynistic. But for what reason? Zobel is trying to be forthright and polemical with Compliance, but simply projecting these images isn't enough to warrant a political license. An artless, meaningless, pseudo-video nasty that doesn't earn the discomfort it will leave you with.

    My full review, and other things, right here:
  2. Feb 13, 2013
    This is the most absurd film ever. I can't believe it has so high score. Even the Americans aren't that dumb, well maybe they are, seeing the score and the reviews.
  3. Jan 16, 2013
    annoying dialogue moronic script 101% unbelievable
    shame on anyone and everyone involved with Compliance
    the DVD extras are also pathic
    I feel much better now
  4. Dec 13, 2012
    I am beyond baffled as to why this film is getting any sort of praise. The fact that it is based on actual events is it's only saving grace given the fact that almost everything in this is movie dreadful. A nude teen doing jumping jacks in the back of a fast food chain doesn't make for a intriguing plot, it actually discredits any validity the film was barely hanging onto. Disappointing and weak to say the least.. Expand
  5. Oct 27, 2012
    The biggest problem I had with this film was that it felt like a short film being turned into a feature without enough material, and the film runs on empty long before the credits roll. This is like sitting through a student film that keeps running on and on and on and on.
    In spite of solid performances, the characters don't feel like real people but rather like creations of a writer
    with an agenda as his biggest concern: Every character in this movie is expendable to the situation of a prank call gone to the point of sexual assault. The intelligence of the characters was something that bothered me, but what bothered me even more was the notion of a writer not endowing his/her characters with any common sense whatsoever. As a consequence every scene felt like a false note. I am at a loss why some critics have called it tense. Tension would have been good, but I guess that would have required for the writer to care about his/her characters. Finally, I don't think that a movie being based on actual events excuses it from having a bad script. And the script for Compliance is bad. Everything in the movie crumbles because of it. Expand
  6. ber
    Aug 30, 2012
    Everything about this movie is dumb. Not least the characters who must share an IQ of 75 between them. Along with the tedious pacing and sub par acting performances i'm at a loss as to why this is so highly rated.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 32
  2. Negative: 4 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Sep 21, 2012
    The movie even fails on a psychological level, never illustrating how, in a pressure-cooker environment and swept up by mob-think mentality, we are capable of committing acts that innately repel us.
  2. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Sep 20, 2012
    Zobel isn't a sadist about all of this as, say, Roman Polanski or David Lynch or Todd Solondz might have been. There's a humanity here, even for the restaurant manager. But that still doesn't make Compliance easy to ingest.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Sep 6, 2012
    It makes you think. And that's invaluable.