Panavision - 2.35:1
2.32:1 - 16:9 - 1.37:1
Screenplay by: Paul Attanasio
Directed by: Barry Levinson
Starring: Michael Douglas, Demi Moore, Donald Sutherland, Caroline Goodall, Roma Maffia, Dylan Baker, Rosemary Forsyth, Dennis Miller, Suzie Plakson, Nicholas Sadler, Jacqueline Kim
Sexual harassment is a very serious matter. Everyone involved suffers. It can cause stress, depression, and feelings of helplessness in the victims, who often don't complain for fear of retaliation. It can result in job loss and career destruction for the perpetrators. It can cost companies untold sums in lawsuits and lost productivity. A movie about such a serious subject should be thought-provoking, intelligent and sensitive, right? And a movie about sexual harassment of a man by his female boss should be intriguing and challenging, right? Wrong! Disclosure (rather loosely based on the novel by Michael Crichton) goes for the cheap shot at every opportunity and ends up being completely unsatisfying and unintentionally hilarious.
Quick summary: Digicom computer company middle-manager guy Tom Sanders (Michael Douglas) is dismayed one morning to find out that the promotion he coveted has gone to his former lover Meredith Johnson (Demi Moore). Johnson calls him into her office the evening of her first day on the job and attempts to seduce him (in a ridiculous and interminably-long scene). He almost gives in, but when he ultimately refuses, she threatens to kill him. The next day she accuses him of harassment and goes on a campaign to have him fired. He consults with attorney Catherine Alvarez (Roma Maffia) and decides to fight back. Sounds pretty simple, right? Wrong again. Throw in a bunch of nonsense about corporate takeovers, sabotage, backstabbing, and (just for good measure) virtual reality systems, gloss over everything so that it makes no sense, and you have Disclosure...
Michael Douglas is completely miscast as harassment victim Tom Sanders. He's at least ten years too old for the part, and his performance lacks the naivete required to make the plot believable. Try as he might (and he does try - we can see the effort), Douglas just cannot make this part work. He comes off as an arrogant whiner rather than a sympathetic victim. The female leads, on the other hand, are all perfectly cast. Demi Moore is believable and disturbing as the evil Meredith Johnson. Caroline Goodall gives a wonderfully prissy performance as Tom's long-suffering Plain-Jane wife Susan. Roma Maffia portrays Catherine Alvarez, Tom's attorney and avenging angel, with relish. Also appearing are Donald Sutherland (he's the big boss of the corporation) and comedian Dennis Miller (playing a bastard of a co-worker). Ultimately, though, none of the actors can save (or take all the blame for) this disaster of a movie. The ludicrous script, gossamer-thin plot and deus-ex-machina ending are just too much for this cast to overcome. Furthermore, the director seems to have thought he could make up for the script's problems by including lots of shots of Demi Moore in various states of undress. Fascinating, I'm sure, but hardly enough to make up for the movie's deficiencies. One would certainly expect a better film from director Barry Levinson.
The Disclosure DVD was released by Warner Home Video. The DVD contains both widescreen and standard versions of the film, with each film being shown on its own side of the disc. Disclosure was filmed in 2.35:1 anamorphic Panavision, and the letterboxed version duplicates this exactly with its approximate 2.32:1 aspect ratio (the letterboxed version is also enhanced for those of you with 16:9 TVs). Levinson is no slouch when it comes to directing, and the framing of the letterboxed version works just fine. On the other hand, the standard version of the film is actually a cropped, pan & scan version, and isn't that pretty to watch - you know the routine, two shots are destroyed, close-ups become uncomfortable extreme close ups, and all the careful staging is ruined. Needless to say, watching the letterboxed version is the only choice here. When it comes to the transfer quality, nothing bad can be said about either version. The picture is very sharp and the color reproduction looks accurate for the letterboxed version. The picture quality of the pan & scan version comes very close to that of the letterboxed version - this is a very good accomplishment when one considers how much the image had to be enlarged to fill the screen.
Both versions of Disclosure feature two soundtracks: an English-language 6-channel Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, and a French-language 2-channel Dolby Surround Stereo mix. The English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack comes across well, and the mix is more satisfying than the French Surround Stereo mix. In comparison, the French dialogue track echoes a bit too much, the center channel seems set too loud while the rear channels seem too muted. The English and French tracks can be switched back and forth through the remote or the on-screen menu options.
Disclosure also features subtitles in English, French and Spanish, and is also encoded with standard English closed-captions. The subtitles and closed-captioning are fine, but there seems to be a little too much paraphrasing going on for my tastes, and some of the onscreen dialogue is simply skipped over in its entirety. While the subtitles can be switched through your remote or the on-screen menu options, the closed-captioning requires an external decoder.
The interactive menu functions for Disclosure are identical for both movie versions. "Jump to a Scene" presents you with 9 chapter choices (image and description), as well as choices for "start movie" and "end credits." "Cast" features biographies and film highlights for Michael Douglas (3 frames), Demi Moore (2 frames), Donald Sutherland (3 frames), Caroline Goodall (2 frames), Dennis Miller (1 frame, bio only) and director Barry Levinson (2 frames). The 3-frame "Production Notes" section discusses the building of the main Digicom set as well as the virtual reality unit. "Film Flash" suggests that you watch Body Heat, The Pelican Brief, Last Tango in Paris or Outbreak if you enjoyed Disclosure. Finally, there are selections for "Language" and "Subtitles." Unlike most of Warner's other DVD releases, no trailer is featured.
The Disclosure DVD is encoded for Region 1 players only (U.S., U.S. Territories, Canada), and comes packaged inside Warner's standard plastic and cardboard "keep case." The inside flap contains a full listing for all 44 chapters, and the packaging includes a two-sided insert card with "DVD Care Tips" and a "Regional Coding" world map.
Review by Paula Krispow
Original Review: 06/02/97
Last Updated: 08/22/97