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When a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. Right?

Based on true events, COMPLIANCE tells the chilling story of just how far one might go to obey a figure of authority. On a particularly busy day at a suburban Ohio fast food joint, high-strung manager Sandra (Ann Dowd (Garden State) receives a phone call from a police officer saying that an employee, a pretty young blonde named Becky (newcomer Dreama Walker) has stolen money from a customer. Convinced she's only doing what's right, Sandra commences the investigation, following step-by-step instructions from the officer at the other end of the line, no matter how invasive they become. As we watch, we ask ourselves two questions: “Why don’t they just say no?” and the more troubling, "Am I certain I wouldn't do the same?"

The second feature from director Craig Zobel (the man behind the 2007 Sundance hit Great World of Sound), COMPLIANCE recounts this riveting nightmare in which the line between legality and reason is hauntingly blurred. The cast delivers startlingly authentic performances that make the appalling events unfolding onscreen all the more difficult to watch – but impossible to turn away from. Delving into the complex psychology of this real-life story, COMPLIANCE proves that sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.

Why isn’t it easy to “just say no....”


Dogfish Pictures
In association with
Muskat Filmed Properties
Low Spark Films
A Bad Cop / Bad Cop

Based on True Events


Written and Directed by
Craig Zobel

Produced by
Sophia Lin
Lisa Muskat
Tyler Davidson
Theo Sena
Craig Zobel

Executive Producer
David Gordon Green

Executive Producers
James Belfer
Carina Alves

Co-Executive Producers
Andrew Brickman
Eric Hollenbeck
Allan Marks
Alyson Winick

Casting by
Kerry Barden
Paul Schnee, C.S.A.

Cinematography by
Adam Stone

Additional Photography by
Scott Gardner

Edited by
Jane Rizzo

Production Design by
Matthew Munn

Production Sound Mixer
Christopher Gebert

Original Score by
Heather Mclntosh

Costume Design by
Karen Malecki


Ann Dowd- Sandra
Matt Servitto- Supplier
Dreama Walker- Becky
Pat Healy- Officer Daniels
Phillip Ettinger- Kevin
Ashlie Atkinson- Marti
Nikiya Mathis- Connie
Ralph Rodrigues- Julio
Stephen Payne- Harold
Bill Camp- Van
Amelia Fowler- Brie
John Merolla- Customer
James McCaffrey- Detective Neals
Desmin Borges- Officer Morris


“BRILLIANT. The movie is driven by an urgent moral inquiry, yet it has the mesmerizing detail and humor of a very idiosyncratic fiction.” – Jeanette Catsoulis NY Times

“CHILLINGLY BRILLIANT. Easily the highlight of Sundance so far.” – David Fear, Time Out NY

“4 STARS. Infuriating and important.” – Farran Smith Nehme, NY Post

“4 STARS - A POWDER KEG. The movie's frightening momentum can't be denied. YOU CAN’T BELIEVE WHAT YOU’RE WATCHING.” – Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York

“INDISPENSABLE FILMMAKING. Hang on. You’re in for a bumpy ride.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"COMPLIANCE" STUCK WITH ME, CHALLENGED ME AND CHANGED MY MOOD IN A WAY MOST FILMS DON'T. The more I thought about it, the more impressed I found myself with the mastery of tension and tone writer-director Craig Zobel displayed. THE RARE FILM THAT'S CAUSED ME TO DO A TOTAL 180 ON HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT.” – Christy Lemire, AP

“SUPERB - A MUST-SEE. RIVETING, UNFORGETABLE VIEWING. Psychologically astute and brilliantly executed, this drama-thriller is the best sort of provocation: one that cuts to the heart of difficult ethical questions about the nature of power, but does so with enormous empathy, smarts and skill.” – Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

“GRADE A-. Ann Dowd and Dreama Walker are terrific.” – Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly


“****” – Gerard Perry, Boston Phoenix

“You'll be screaming about ONE OF THE MOST AUDACIOUS MOVIES OF 2012 — and that's exactly why the film is so brilliant. I would go as far as to say that the film steps into Psycho terrain.” – Jesse Hawthorne Ficks, SF Bay Guardian

“IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A FILM THAT SHOVES YOU WAY OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE, THIS ONE WILL DO THE TRICK. It burrows into your brain and keeps burrowing, the longer you watch.” – Marshall Fine, Huffington Post

“TAUT, GRIPPING and deeply disturbing. With expert performances and carefully researched material, this is intelligent filmmaking that handles its risky subject matter with taste and discipline.” – Justin Chang, Variety

“The feeling you get from it is that almost nothing is taken for granted, that new models of storytelling and expression are in the process of being invented.” – A.O. Scott, NY Times

“Inspired both by a bizarre true story of a prank caller who targeted the employees of rural fast-food restaurants and by the famous Milgram experiment, its tightrope balance between squirm fest and morality play would not have been possible without a performance as bold and incisive as the one the veteran character actress Ann Dowd delivers as Sandra.” - Dennis Lim, New York Times




“A suspenseful psychological drama, eerily attuned to current cultural issues.” – Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

“SIGNIFICANT. It cements Craig Zobel's place as a serious filmmaker with an important voice. It dares to look into the flawed heart of most human beings and find them wanting, a message that offers no easy antidote.” – Drew McWeeny, Hitfix

“The cast here is so terrific” – Noel Murray, The Onion AV Club

“Deeply, viscerally unnerving. A disturbing, unflinching exploration of the dark side of mankind’s deference to authority.” – Nathan Rabin, The Onion AV Club


“GRADE A. UTTERLY CAPTIVATING. Pitch-perfect, often brilliant.” Britt Hayes, Gordon and the Whale

“Powerfully divisive. a thought-provoking look at the incapacitating effects of authority’s fear-inducing influence.” – Matt Barone, Complex

“BRILLIANT. One of the most audacious movies of 2012. It builds up a sense of ever-impending terror - I would go as far as to say that the film steps into Psycho terrain.” – Jesse Hawthorne, San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Shattering. A fascinating film.” – Emmet Duff, Sound on Sight

“Well made, especially potent. Brutal but important.” Heather Donahue, LA Magazine

“Severely affecting. An almost endlessly fascinating study of human behavior.” – Todd Gilchrist, The Playlist

“REMARKABLY TENSE, with a terrific ensemble of actors.” – Badass Digest, Devin Faraci

“One of this year's most controversial, and most brilliant, films at Sundance. It is a fascinating and deeply unsettling version of true events, but it goes past that, with art and honesty.” James Rocchi, Jamesrocchi.com

Date for DVD release subject to change.