I Expected Moore but They Took the Michael
With a poster campaign which featured the evocative image of Demi Moore straddling Michael Douglas "Disclosure" certainly garnered a lot of attention, maybe more than it actually deserved. Billed as a slightly erotic thriller and adapted from a Michael Crichton novel it is quite a surprise that "Disclosure" is actually quite disappointing as well as flawed, never achieving the tension a thriller needs and other than a quick semi sexually charged scene is lacking in eroticism.
Tom Sanders (Michael Douglas - Basic Instinct) is a happily married man and a successful computer expert who having expected to win a promotion is disappointed when the job is given to Meredith Johnson (Demi Moore - A Few Good Men) a dangerously ambitious executive who during his younger days he had an affair with. When his new boss tries to rekindle their relationship he rejects her sexual advances only to discover his job on the line as she presses sexual harassment charges against him. Forced to defend himself Tom files sexual harassment charges against her and whilst trying to prove himself innocent discovers a whole can of worms full of corporate conspiracy which could leave him in an even bigger mess.
Story wise the ideas behind "Disclosure" are in themselves not bad, combining a sexual harassment element, all but one which turns the usual scenario on its head, with a corporate conspiracy element. The trouble is that neither of them are well developed and although merge semi coherently together just lack the intensity which is expected.
The sexual harassment element which cleverly switches the scenario so that a male employee is harassed by a female boss has the workings of being a very good, intense story on its own but despite continually used throughout "Disclosure" feels seriously underplayed and ender-examined. Once you get pass the slightly sexually charged sex scene, which as sex scenes go is not that impressive, the storyline then seems to wander along going through various predictable scenes such as the reveal to the wife, the accusations between each legal team and never feels like it is that important in the bigger picture making "Disclosure" a little misleading.
Then there is the corporate conspiracy side to "Disclosure" which granted does become the main focus of the movie but is so completely contrived and hole riddled that it is hard not to laugh during various scenes where Tom amazingly discovers something to do with his bosses duplicitous actions. There really are too many issues to make it a tight thriller and with clues falling into Tom's lap as quickly as Demi Moore wanted to it is to say the least unbelievable. Adding to the issues with the holes is that again it lacks the tension, the suspense, the excitement and intensity that you would expect. Even attempts to give the movie a clever twist is so well sign posted that it is more of a case of waiting for it to arrive rather than being surprised by its existence.
Adding to the woes is that the way "Disclosure" was publicized with far too much attention put on the sexual nature of the movie. It really isn't an erotic movie and has just the one scene which could be classed as such. But the outstanding and memorable moment in that scene is Demi Moore in a very uplifting bra getting down on her knees in front of Michael Douglas. It really isn't what you expect and in many ways tries not to fall to the levels of say "Basic Instinct" but actually does in a very cheap manner. It insinuates so much but then never delivers which for those expecting an erotic movie will be seriously disappointed.
Continuing with the troubles is that despite being set in a supposed hi-tech world, a world back in 1994 when mobile phones were still simplistic bricks, the techno babble which is often spouted may have sounded impressive back then but it is now as laughable as the thrilling aspect of the movie itself. There really is very little authenticity to any of the technical aspect of the scenes with the dialogue coming across as a string of impressive words that have been chosen because they sound techie. This is made worse by the holes in the technical systems which are meant to be pivotal to the storyline, they just wouldn't have happened even back then.
As for the performances well Michael Douglas gives the best performance in "Disclosure" as Tom Sanders, if you can ignore the terrible techie dialogue he has to try and deliver. Although it really is such a terrible character that despite Douglas's best efforts it feels seriously 2 dimensional and difficult to relate to despite being the focal point. Opposite Douglas Demi Moore doesn't fair so well, for the majority of the movie she looks like a duck out of water struggling to deliver a convincing performance as a conniving power driven boss. But in that one erotic scene she is surprising convincing as a domineering boss intent on having her wicked way with her employee. The trouble is that although I like Demi Moore she just wasn't a strong enough actor back then to really play the role with the power it deserved.
As for the supporting performances, well they are a much of a much ness, a series of 2 dimensional characters used to fill the back drop. The only one which makes any impact is Donald Sutherland who puts in an adequate performance as Bob Garvin the owner of the high tech company, oozing smarm and charm equally. Although I did get concerned at one very strange scene which sees Tom dreaming about him in a rather disturbing sexual manner.
What this all boils down to is that "Disclosure", despite being adapted from a Michael Crichton novel and starring Michael Douglas and Demi Moore, is a rather disappointing movie. It may be partly down to the way that the movie was publicized making much more of the supposed sexual nature of the movie than there actually is. But even so it is seriously lacking in many departments making it neither erotically exciting nor thrilling. There are worse movies, but I Expect Moore but They Took the Michael.