Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Craig Zobel

Aug 16, 2012 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Perhaps the most polarizing film at this year's Sundance Festival, Craig Zobel's Compliance is largely inspired by real-life events, more specifically prank calls to fast food restaurants gone tragically awry. Zobel extrapolates from these events with a startling take on just how far human beings will go when they're presented with an edict from a seemingly authoritative figure.

The film's evocative of recent cataclysmic cultural events-Abu Ghraib, invasive TSA screenings, the whole of The Patriot Act. Yet in its capturing of the minutiae of the average day in the life of average citizens, it's downright chilling in its portrayal of what humans are capable of given the perfect storm of circumstances.

Ann Dowd dazzles as Sandra, in her fastidious urge to comply and do what she views as a necessity despite red flags launching like a fireworks display. The prosaic colliding with the sensational is best illustrated in the film's final scene, as Sandra, while appearing on a tabloid talk show, discusses New Orleans with the interviewer off-camera, and politely proffers, "It's lovely down there," catatonically disconnected from the mayhem left in her trail.


Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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