Compliance

“This tense, extraordinary film presents no easy answers… It’s not a movie you want to watch twice – or miss the opportunity to see once.” — David Fear, Time Out NY

Director: Craig Zobel
Year: 2012
Country:
Running time: 90 mins
Censor Rating: R16 - offensive language, sexual themes, content that may disturb

Screenplay: Craig Zobel
Producers: Sophia Lin, Lisa Muskat, Tyler Davidson, Theo Sena, Craig Zobel
Photography: Adam Stone
Editor: Jane Rizzo
Production designer: Matthew Munn
Costume designer: Karen Malecki
Music: Heather McIntosh
CinemaScope

With: Ann Dowd (Sandra), Dreama Walker (Becky), Pat Healy (Officer Daniels), Bill Camp (Van), Philip Ettinger (Kevin), James McCaffrey (Detective Neals)

Festivals: Sundance, San Francisco 2012

Craig Zobel’s polarising drama re-enacts and illuminates a vicious prank that took place repeatedly in a number of US fast-food chain stores. A middle-aged shop manager (Ann Dowd) takes a call from a police officer instructing her to detain a pretty young staff member accused of theft. During the course of a night various others are drawn into the methodical sexual humiliation of the young woman. Dowd gives the film its scarily vagrant heart: she is unnerving and unforgettable as the apologetic but dutiful jailer. You may forget you are watching acting, she is so credible in her wavering subservience to the voice of authority. As a study of the allure of fascism it’s akin to The Wave, but so disconcerting in its prolonged queasiness that it almost dares an audience to share the prankster’s view of his victims as fit subjects for manipulation. Chilling. — BG

Compliance is not an exploitation film, exactly; it’s more of a procedural, an anatomy of how systemic everyday exploitation is the perfect breeding ground for extraordinary exploitation.” — Karina Longworth, Village Voice

NZIFF STAFF PICK: Sandra Reid

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