One of the most controversial films at Sundance this year was Compliance, from writer/director Craig Zobel. Based on a true story, it begins with a supposed police officer (Pat Healy) calling a fast food restaurant. He accuses an employee (Dreama Walker) of theft. What follows is a nightmare right of those Stanley Milgram experiments: normal people doing inhumane things because they’re simply following orders.
It’s an unsettling, powerfully acted movie, particularly because of Healy, Walker, and Ann Dowd, who plays the hapless restaurant manager. I had a few issues with how it all winds down given the film’s intensity, but even then, the final scene of Compliance hits the exact right note. Compliance makes its way out of the festival circuit on August 17th. In the gallery is the harrowing poster for the film.