Compliance (2012)

by robinhardwick

Compliance is currently streaming on Amazon and Netflix. Why not sit down to a nice movie night about the truths of human manipulation.

The Unwatchables


Compliance is a simple film with a complicated relationship with the nature of obeying authority. It’s a cinematic equivalent of the Milgram experiment that is practically mandatory on all PSYCH 101 Syllabi. In black and white footage, a subject is asked to administer questions to an unseen subject, whom he believes is getting electric shocks for wrong answers. A off-screen authority figure tells the subject that “the experiment must go on.” And it does go on; the experiment famously shows what humans are willing to comply with an authority.

Compliance is based on a bizarre true crime that received little press. In 2004, a man called a McDonald’s claiming to be a police officer reporting one of the employees had stolen from a customer, and convinced the manager to interrogate, eventually strip-searching the employee. The prank caller may have derived sexual arousal from his prank, despite not even being in…

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