Disclosure (1994)

Barry Levinson directs Michael Douglas, Demi Moore and Donald Sutherland in this corporate thriller where a middle aged suit’s new female boss sexually assaults him on the week of a proposed merger.

A polished entertainment that feels both a relic of its time (digital technology is very much in its infancy, the attitudes are gratingly misogynistic) and yet accidentally prescient. The noodling around rape, consent, gender and workplace power echoes this past year’s #metoo content like Bombshell, I May Destroy You and, especially, The Morning Show. Of course, whereas those current meditations are very much tales of female victimhood, empowerment, complicity and agency, Disclosure is in its heart of hearts a simple yuppie-in-peril thriller. His career, happy home life and sense of self is threatened by the accusation of rape and the fact that he was the one who was corralled into an unwanted sexually aggressive advance. Telling that Hollywood was more comfortable investing in this exception rather than the rule. Even now, there still haven’t been that many A-List movies about the norm: a predatory male boss who ruins a life and career simply as he has leverage over a female subordinate. Having framed Disclosure’s rather unique position among Hollywood hits… Is it any good? Good but not great. Everyone seems to be doing gun-for-hire work. I doubt Levinson cared much for the material, Ennio Morricone’s score has all the grace of a modem kicking into life and Moore seems happy to fade back into the corner office once she’s looked smoking in and out of some fetching power suits. Douglas is the only actor who brings it. After his masculinity is wounded and his security threatened in the first half, he becomes a pro-active detective, more comfortable turning the tables and figuring out the dodgy foundations of the billion dollar merger this is all obviously a sideshow for. Once he no longer has to pretend to be perturbed that Demi Moore nuzzled his genitals, we warm to his scrambling patsy trying to crack the corporate conspiracy built around him. After all, this was never a film made to be a voice for sexual assault victims in the work place, but a reassurance to straight couples investing in a babysitter and two multiplex tickets that the man of the house can keep his job and seal the deal while navigating the perils of… hot women in the workplace.


Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/

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