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Monday, January 21, 2013


Inspired by actual events, writer/director Craig Zobel's sophomore feature Compliance examines the complex hierarchy of authority through the experiences of a teenage fast-food restaurant clerk who falls victim to a twisted practical joke. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Director: Craig Zobel

Cast: Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, Pat Healy, Bill Camp, Ashlie Atkinson

Release Date: Aug 17, 2012

Rated R for language and sexual content/nudity

Runtime: 1 hr. 30 min.

Genres: Suspense/Thriller


Compliance is the type of feel that really feels like its stretching credulity and good taste various times during its runtime. At certain points during the film, I couldn’t help but feel like there was something exploitative or embellished about the proceedings but sadly, the plot of the film following the real life events fairly closely. It’s a disturbing and frustrating experience which leaves you with plenty of questions, most of which aren’t answered in the film or in real life for that matter. Craig Zobel shows an impressive talent as a director bringing an immediacy and authenticity to the proceedings. Ann Dowd’s complex and layered turn as the manager adds to the sense of authenticity. Dowd is always the most interesting person the screen even though there are other strong performances. The film loses some of its power when she isn’t front and center which happens for the better part of the final act. Dreama Walker is just as impressive with a performance that leaves her character exposed on multiple levels, both literally and figuratively. It’s a thankless role in many ways but she commits fully and believably. Pat Healy is appropriately detached yet sinister as the caller. It’s not a showy role but effective. We don’t know much about his character or motivations outside of tidbits of information that we are shown throughout the film after he’s revealed. In fact there we don’t get very many answers about him or the other characters, only a quick wrap up of each finishing with an interview with Dowd’s character.


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