Disclosure (1994) Directed by Barry Levinson: a jpoc movie review
Good plot rescues uninspired acting
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Main Cast
Michael Douglas Tom Sanders
Demi Moore Meredith Johnson
Donald Sutherland Bob Garvin
Caroline Goodall Susan Hendler (Tom's wife)
You can buy this movie and the original book from
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amazon.co.uk
rating
Five out of ten.
viewing notes
I first saw this movie on a rented video while I was on a short trip to the UK. Later, my wife tried to buy a copy on video in a shop in St.Petersburg. The box claimed that it contained a copy of "Disclosure" in English with Russian sub-titles. Actually, it contained a copy of "Flatliners" also in English with Russian sub-titles. Subsequently, I bought a copy on DVD.
the jpoc review
Based on a novel by Michael Chrichton, author of Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain, this movie is the result of Hollywood using a formula (another movie based on a Chrichton novel) rather than any conscious attempt to deal with a particular social theme.

Having said that, the film certainly does deal with one of the hot topics of the nineties namely sexual harassment in the workplace. The twist here is that the perpetrator is a woman, Meredith Johnson (Demi Moore) who is given the job that Tom Sanders (Michael Douglas) had though was his. Although the two characters had in the past been lovers, when Johnson gets the job as Sanders boss, her junior is now married to Susan (Caroline Goodall) and has a daughter and he eventually manages to resist Johnson's advances.

Johnson then makes false charges of sexual harassment against Sanders and, as he fights to clear himself of these, he slowly discovers that the charges are just part of a wider plot to discredit him by blaming him for the consequences of some ill judged decisions taken by Johnson. He must fight to clear his reputation and save his name, career and marriage.

Watching this movie, I got the feeling that a lot of the actors really just saw it as a matter of turning up, reading the lines and taking the money. Michael Douglas certainly pulls out all of his portfolio of expressions but he never really convinces you that he is a tech-exec facing a crisis. Similarly, Demi Moore glides through the movie largely being Demi Moore, full of poise and self control but leaving disappointment with the feeling that she could have tried harder.

The same holds true for the other actors who pad out the interaction between the two protagonists. Donald Sutherland as Bob Garvin the company head more interested in keeping everything sweet in the run up to an important merger seems to have no more interest in his part than his character has in the world outside his business deal. The big names are surrounded by a host of pretty well stock parts. The wife, the colleagues and the standard issue scheming middle manager all walk across the screen and go away forgotten.

While the film may lose on acting and characterisation, the plot is interesting and holds things together. It is after all a Chrichton plot and he is usually reliable. The movie is well paced too and without doubt, it is an entertaining film but, when tackling a hard issue, with quality actors, you might hope for more than entertainment.