Screened as part of NZIFF 2012

Compliance 2012

Directed by Craig Zobel

This polarising drama explores a vicious sexual prank that took place in a US fast-food chain store. “Tense, extraordinary… It’s not a movie you want to watch twice – or miss the opportunity to see once.” — Time Out NY

USA In English
90 minutes CinemaScope

Director, Screenplay


Sophia Lin
Lisa Muskat
Tyler Davidson
Theo Sena
Craig Zobel


Adam Stone


Jane Rizzo

Production designer

Matthew Munn

Costume designer

Karen Malecki


Heather McIntosh


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


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