In a piece about audience reactions to Craig Zobel‘s Compliance, Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn notes that “walkouts have become a regular occurrence.
“At last night’s New York City premiere at the IFC Center, one woman loudly announced her disapproval to the room around the halfway mark. ‘Gimme a break!’ she spouted before storming out, not realizing she was subjecting herself to a post-screening workshop.
“At the end of the movie, a panel moderated by Psychology Today editor-at-large Hara Estroff Marano elaborated on the movie’s conceits. Along with Zobel and costar Ann Dowd, Marano was joined by practicing psychologists Nando Pelusi and Stanton Peele.
“When Peele asked the audience if they would behave similarly, the outbursts erupted with a consistency that lasted until the theater manager had to clear the room. Among the guests that night was longtime 60 Minutes host Bob Simon, who took the high road. ‘I would’ve known that wasn’t a cop within a few minutes,’ he insisted. A younger viewer said ‘I’m highly educated and wouldn’t have known.’
“The key reaction came from a woman at the back of the room. ‘It’s difficult for intelligent people to watch such unintelligent behavior,’ she said.
“That made it official: Compliance digs out a universal superiority complex and forces it into battle mode. It’s a movie that feeds on collective emotions — anger, denial and, most of all, fear — but also triggers explosives along the faultlines of class.”