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DISCLOSURE

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Michael Douglas, Demi Moore, Donald Sutherland, Caroline Goodall, Dennis Miller
Director: Barry Levinson
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround
Video: Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic Transfer, Standard 1.33:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 129 Minutes
Release Date: September 3, 1997

Film ****

Disclosure, based on the popular 1993 bestseller by Michael Crichton, is a professionally made and very engaging thriller, glossing with style and immense with intrigue. Director Barry Levinson has had an interesting track record. Prior to Disclosure, Levinsonís last two films, Toys and Jimmy Hollywood were major disappointments with both critics and audiences. The success of Disclosure put Levinson back in the game big time, and I easily consider this to be one of the directorís finest movies. As far as I can tell, this is the first movie to tackle the issue of sexual harassment in the work place, though I could be wrong about that. I can certainly say that is the first movie to poise a situation where the man is the victim of sexual harassment, rather than the other way around.

The film stars Michael Douglas as Tom Sanders, a computer drive designer for the DigiCom Corporation. This corporation is about to enter a high profile merger, mostly because of the hype surrounding Tomís latest design project; a CD ROM drive called Arcamax, which is able to perform twice as fast than drives on the market. Tom is also expecting a big promotion as vice president, and is astonished when he learns that he doesnít get it. Heís even more astonish to learn that the position is being handed to Meredith Johnson (Demi Moore), Tomís former flame. He has also come across a rumor that he might be out of a job soon. Worried about this, Tom agrees to a private evening meeting with his new boss, hoping that heíll be able to see what his career with DigiCom stands. The meeting turns into an attempt to rekindle a passionate relationship, as Meredith throws herself on Tom and engaging in an attempted rape. Tom repeatedly shouts no, and eventually resists. Meredith, angered his decision, warns him that he will be finished in no time soon.

The next day, Tom is the one whoís hit with the accusation of sexual harassment, and his life and career seem to be in a heap of jeopardy. He tries to explain his side of the story, but no one is able to believe the idea of a man being harassed by a woman, especially when she is as attractive as Meredith is. The president of DigiCom (Donald Sutherland) will not stand for sex scandal to present itself while in the midst of a huge, million dollar merger, and wants the situation settled fast and quick. Seeking to clear his name, Tom hires a lawyer and sues Meredith for the harassment, putting DigiCom and its merger at serious risk.

If Iíve given the illusion that Disclosure is mainly about the sexual harassment case, it isnít. In fact, at the movieís core is a brilliantly constructed plot involving Tom racing against the clock to save himself from losing his job. Once the sexual harassment case is resolved, Tom discovers that his employers, including Meredith are attempting to set him up to look incompetent at an upcoming company meeting. The last act involves Tom using a virtual reality atmospheric device known as The Corridor, which is used by donning a headpiece. Using this device, Tom examines files of his product, as his enemies are one step behind them, attempting to delete them. Itís a breathtaking moment of what a cutthroat cyberspace battle might look like, and the movieís visual effects are downright amazing, complements of Industrial Light and Magic. I must also give major credit to production designer Neil Spisak, who gives DigiCom a true state of the art look. Their office building is exactly how I would want the place I work at to look. This movie was made seven years ago, and to this day, the look of the film still impresses me.

Disclosure is a success on all accounts. The sexual harassment plot is grabbing, but even more intriguing is the filmís cutthroat look at corporate politics, and all the backstabbing that finds itself in todayís modern business world. Barry Levinson, along with screenwriter Paul Attanasio, who also wrote superb scripts for Donnie Brasco and Quiz Show, adapts Michael Crichtonís page-turner to pure cinematic perfection.

Video ***1/2

One of Warnersí first offerings, Disclosure comes off as one of the better transfers of their early period. The dual-sided process is used, and the turnout for the video part was far more impressive than I expected. Both widescreen and full frame versions are offered, but I always view the widescreen side. The anamorphic presentation is an impressively clear and flawless presentation. The filmís visual effects, particularly in the scene where Douglas hacks his way through the virtual corridor, looks absolutely stunning. Has a little grain, but itís very brief. Other than that, a simply solid transfer.

Audio ****

Warners offers one of the absolute best audio jobs on one of their first releases with a grand Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation. Soundtrack, dialogue, and especially sounds in key effects sequences come through with flawless digital power. The sound quality is constantly dynamite, and never falters one bit in the entire viewing.

Features *

Only cast and crew information is included.

Summary:

Disclosure is a winner of a contemporary thriller. The art of corporate dealings and backstabbings are wonderfully accounted, and presents a accusation that doesnít always happen the way it does in this movie, but is nonetheless likely to happen sooner or later. Recommended very highly!