Compliance (2012)

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great, underseen movie

Very uncomfortable

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Compliance

Studio:  Dogfish Pictures

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  January 21, 2012 (Sundance)/August 17, 2012

MPAA Rating:  R


Ok…you want me to what?

It appears to be a normal day at the ChickWich, but something is going on behind closed doors.  The manager Sandra (Ann Dowd) has received a call that her employee Becky (Dreama Walker) has stolen money from a customer’s purse and is part of a bigger police investigation.  Sandra has been given an order in the hopes that Becky will quickly be cleared…a strip search is necessary to find the stolen money.  Against everyone’s wishes, the search is performed, but the ordeal isn’t over.  Officer Daniels (Pat Healy) demands a secondary search…and then a third.  The horror continues but Officer Daniels isn’t what he claims to be.

Directed by Craig Zobel, Compliance had a small release, but received positive reviews.  The cast was commended for their performance and the National Board of Review awarded Ann Dowd the award for Best Supporting Actress.


I just want to work my minimum wage job and go home.

Compliance is an uncomfortable film.  What is most uncomfortable about it is that it is true.  You watch the movie and you think that no one could fall for a scheme like this, but this account is almost identical to what happened in a McDonald’s in Mount Washington, Kentucky in 2004.  There, the manager Donna Summers strip-searched her employee Louise Ogborn at the orders of an Officer Scott.  The event went as far as Louise being violated and forced to perform oral sex on the manager’s fiancé who was called in to watch her until the police came.  The investigation led to an arrest and a legal suit again McDonald’s that ended up in a big payoff for the victim…and as the movie indicates this event happened more than once all over the country.


Oh yeah…describe it for me!!! Now!!!

What is the shocking thing about this movie is that all the characters seem to be rather with it.  They aren’t so uneducated that you feel that it should have been easy to dupe them, but the caller’s ability to spin the answers to their questions (and pit them against each other) was amazing.  It all had a sort of logical sense and the caller knows how to build a quick rapport with people (it is shown why near the end of the movie).

The movie looks fantastic.  It is obviously a low budget film and the movie only has a couple of sets.  I questioned when I saw the movie’s description how they would keep it engaging, but the filmmaker did it swimmingly.  If you’ve worked in fast food you recognized the cold, sterile world of a fast food restaurant, and it does look like one.  It was also smart to mix in shots of diners to remind people that this was all going on as people were eating outside…an average day.


So…guess the wedding is off, huh?

The actors all excelled.  I’m very surprised that this didn’t get more attention during awards season and I’m glad that Dowd was recognized as the conned manager.  She is very real and simple parts of the movie like her network interview were great.  Dreama Walker’s also strong in a performance that is very rough and at points unflattering.

Compliance is a movie that should be sought out…especially if you don’t think it could really happen.  Watching it, you see points where you could fall for it, and points where you would hope you’d step back and say “wait a minute”…but unless you are in a situation like that, you never will know how you would react…you can only hope.


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response