6.4/10
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194 user 293 critic

Compliance (2012)

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A normal Friday service at a fast food restaurant becomes interrupted by a police officer who claims an employee stole from a customer, but something more sinister is going on.

Director:

Craig Zobel

Writer:

Craig Zobel
7 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ann Dowd ... Sandra
Matt Servitto ... Supplier
Dreama Walker ... Becky
Pat Healy ... Officer Daniels
Philip Ettinger ... Kevin
Ashlie Atkinson ... Marti
Nikiya Mathis ... Connie
Ralph Rodriguez ... Julio
Stephen Payne Stephen Payne ... Harold
Bill Camp ... Van
Amelia Fowler ... Brie
John Merolla ... Customer
James McCaffrey ... Detective Neals
Desmin Borges ... Officer Morris
Matt Skibiak Matt Skibiak ... Robert Gilmour (as Matthew Skibiak)
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Storyline

At a fast food restaurant, the manager, Sandra, is having a bad day. Suddenly, she gets a phone call from a man claiming to be a police officer who has a complaint that one of her young female employees has stolen from a customer. At the orders of this authoritative sounding stranger, Sandra takes the apparent accused, Becky, to a back room to search her before she is picked up. Once there, the phone scammer manipulates the gullible personnel into participating in Becky's sexual humiliation that grows more twisted with every new sucker on the phone. Only when one final person has the conscience to revolt do they realize the crime they were tricked into, which the real police are hard pressed to solve. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Power. Manipulation. Obedience. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexual content/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 September 2012 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Obediência See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$270,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,427, 19 August 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$318,622, 28 October 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although a common misconception, Pat Healy does make brief on-screen appearances as it was meant to make his character mysterious. See more »

Goofs

When the police are collecting computer surveillance footage as evidence from the restaurant's computers, a policeman takes out a CD/DVD reader claiming it has all the backups for all the systems. He should be taking the computer's hard-drives as evidence. See more »

Quotes

Officer Daniels: So I want you to do me a favor, and look around at where you are. That's where you are. Where we are, is at your house, searching it for your brother's drugs.
Becky: My brother doesn't do drugs.
Officer Daniels: Enough. *Enough*. Shut *up*. We have you with witnesses stealing from the restaurant. You aren't cooperating. You aren't helping us conduct our investigation. It's not good. All right, looks like we're gonna have to take you in. They'll look at your criminal record, determine how many hours you're gonna spend ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Midnight Screenings: Compliance (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm A Dance
Performed by Black-listed-individuals
Written by Jeffery Johnson and David Swan
Published by Pubadminourstage (ASCAP)
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User Reviews

At best a missed opportunity; at worst it is shamelessly tawdry in its construct and delivery
17 August 2013 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

As hard as it will be to believe, this film is very closely based on a real event. A man saying he is a police officer calls a fast food restaurant and gets one of the cashiers brought into the back room by her manager. She is accused of theft and the officer needs the manager to hold her in the room until he can get there. He also needs her to check her purse. And take her phone. And search her pockets. The manager complies and one step at a time things get terribly worse for everyone.

This film had potential. The title suggests that we are looking at the idea of compliance with authority figures and, in order to do that, we will use a real situation to investigation why this occurs. Sadly the film doesn't do any of this and instead simply plays out the real incident without much intelligent to say about it other than telling us it happened. There isn't even discussion after the fact because the ending is spent tying up the mystery (such as it is) in a way that doesn't satisfy and seems tacked on. This lack of insight or commentary is a problem but we are still left with a recreation of sorts – and this is at least delivered with a bit of a sense of tension at first. I say at first not because it flops in the second half but because for it this was replaced by something else – a feeling of the film putting me in the same place as the prank caller, and not in a meaningful way.

The film pushes the sexual material on us in a way it didn't need to. The lead girl is not plain, but blonde with a great figure and the camera doesn't shame away from letting us see it. Nor does it let her break down as the detective reviewing the video at the end of the film tells us she did (crying and begging), instead it keeps her together so that the viewer doesn't feel pushed away by her raw and shredded emotions. It is a very odd series of decisions and I would like to think they were not deliberate but it is difficult when they line up so effectively. The cast mostly do not explore their situations or reasons and, although they follow events, none of them really gave me much beyond what was on the page.

The film does deliver the real events pretty straight but I wondered why it didn't seem to add much to them. There is nothing really in the way of insight or commentary here – the plot plays out and then ends. While doing it though, the film also seems to enjoy the nudity and the sexuality of the lead actress and prevents her from breaking down while also giving her breasts and body plenty of direct line of sight. The film already felt empty and like a missed opportunity – but this just added tawdry to the list.


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