Sundance 2012: The Film ‘Compliance’ and the Shouting & Screaming at the Q & A

Written by Sofia Gian

[For Sundance 2012, Daily Actor has actress Sofia Gian taking in the sights, sounds and films and writing it all down for us. Keep coming back for more Sundance!  – Lance]

I didn’t see it coming is the best way I can describe my screening of Compliance. It’s a story of the unexpected. What starts off innocently enough as relationship between the middle-aged fast food store manager Sandra and her young teenage employee turns into a psychological horror film, and takes the audience on an uncomfortable ride over the next two hours.

A busy Friday night at a generic fast food joint in just another mid-western town takes a turn to the perverse as cop-pretending prank caller seizes psychological control over the employees and makes them do things most of us would think of as unimaginable. Both the audience and I wanted to yell out at the characters on screen telling them to hang the phone up and make the mind-torture end, but it would not have made a difference.  The lead actress Dreama Walker tackled difficult scenes she did it seamlessly, although tragically. The store manager, Sandra (Ann Dowd) did a great job, her character had multi-levels and it was believable that she had been “taken”, by the prankster on the call.

Although there are some lighter moments during the intro of the film it turned into nervous laughter as the movie progressed and entirely disappeared by the midway point onwards. It’s a 90 minute movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat, and securely uncomfortable. It’s not for everyone.

When the movie ended there were angry boos coming from a small set of the 500 viewers. Some individuals got up from their seats and began screaming things like “rape isn’t entertainment”, or that the movie was exploiting the natural beauty of the lead actress Dreama Walker to sell the film, one gentleman commented on liking seeing the lead actress naked. The writer and director, Craig Zobel, clammed up, the actors looked like they felt uncomfortable. The rest of the audience just let it happen – interesting that it’s exactly what the film was about.

I think everyone is going to have a strong opinion about this film, it’s one of those films that you are either going to think is brilliant or you are going to really hate – but you will have opinion, that’s for sure.


Sofia Gian does one thing each day to reach her goal of becoming a leading lady. In this process she interviews industry professionals and learns tricks and tips which actors can use to move their careers forward.

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