Customer Review

19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Milgram's "shocking" research de ja vu., February 3, 2013
This review is from: Compliance (DVD)
This is both a dramatically provocative and important film for anyone above the age of early adolesence.

In the early 60's, Psychologist Milgram did a series of studies in which he persuaded both students and non-students to
administer painful shock to subjects. This experiment was done under the guise of testing learning theory. In many, many instances the subjects (confederates) screamed in pain and begged the subjects to stop. Yet because the subjects were instructed to do so by an experimenter in authority, the subjects (playing the role of teachers) continued shocking the subjects. These findings illustrate the power of authority in inducing ordinary people to do horrid things to others. Naturally the ugly, unforgettable real-world manifestation of this is the holocaust. "I was only following orders" goes the feeble reply when the Nazi and SS were forced to answer for their crimes.

The film "Compliance" is a modern day, dramatic, creative, and compelling reenactment of the Milgram studies. As such, it is a "must see" for academics from all fields, but particularly from those focusing interpersonal communication, leadership, persuasion, social psychology, sociology, journalism, law enforcement, and public administration.

In addition to its suitable as an instructional aid and stimulus to classroom discussions, it is an extremely well acted and
fascinating film. Artistically, it is well photographed, and the dialogue and actors are superb. This story is, in fact, a dramatic rendering of real-life instances of similar crimes committed throughout the U.S.

I cannot recommend enough this intelligent, provocative film.

--Wm. R. Todd-Mancillas
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 31, 2013 11:54:52 AM PDT
Eric Sanberg says:
I liked your review but I must disagree. The reference to Milgram does not quite apply in that with those experiments the authority was present as opposed to on the phone. This film, as much as I liked it, angered me in that none of those involved, save for the young boy and the old man, questioned what was going on. When Van was asked what Becky's nipples were like, that should have thrown up red flags the size of Texas. And when she was required to perform oral sex on him all hell should have broken loose. I do see your point, but I didn't buy it here. We've all seen enough TV to know rudimentary police procedures and this was too far afield to be believed.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 31, 2013 12:44:53 PM PDT
I take your point. The reference to Milgram is not perfect, but I can imagine circumstances in which a naive person accepts the telephone authority as credible. I certainly have had many such students over the years (much to my chagrin). But the nipples and oral sex really were over the top. I can allow those for dramatic license, but in reality I do hope that is all it was. Perhaps further investigation will clarify, although, truth to tell, I am a bit chilled to open that door.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2013 11:30:28 PM PST
Jubal H says:
Eric. If only rational thinking would have as much to do with it as we would like. The seductive power of such "authority" draws people into participation of the power over others. Clearly, the poor idiot who put the girl through the sexual paces of the guy on the phone got his own jollies from the sex and power of his acts. Power can be very seductive. It provides significant perks to collaborators. I think this was true in the holocaust and it was a factor in Milgrim's experiments as well. Fear of authority alone cannot explain the entire problem. Its discouraging to see such loathsome weakness in humankind. We need to understand ourselves if we hope to do better.
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