Review of "Misconduct (DVD)"

published 18/10/2016 | gothic_moon
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Cons Dreary, flimsy premise, poor direction, unmemorable
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"Misconduct Of The Forgettable Kind"

The DVD cover is more appealing than the film itself.

The DVD cover is more appealing than the film itself.

-- “Ambition can be deadly” --

This falls within the thriller and drama genres and is a recent 2016 release. It was directed by Shintaro Shimosawa, who has production and writing experience on numerous pieces, though Misconduct is technically his directorial debut.

… Premise …

We are introduced to Ben Cahill, an eager lawyer keen to make his mark. He gets a message from a crazy ex, claiming to have some dirt that he just can’t say no to. Cahill ends up taking on a case that’s bigger than he could have anticipated, landing him in the middle of a mess too corrupt and dangerous to easily talk himself out of. The case is regarding a corrupt, unscrupulous pharmaceutical executive, for which his ex was an ex employee. The last case against him got thrown out for lack of evidence. Can this lawyer, ambition driving him on, make his way out of a sea of corrupt money grabbing, smarmy corporate types and blackmail, and will he manage to reveal the truth before they manage to sink him too?

… // …

I’m keeping the premise short and sweet because, a. there’s really not much to it, b. saying much does give away any kind of surprise or interest in the film (because there’s really not much else to get excited over). We see this lawyer trying to play the game and be clever about it, but finding himself up against far greater players on the corrupt and ambitious scale. We see blackmail, threats, a race against time to uncover the truth before all is lost. We see a romantic element, with Cahill’s wife in the background and his ex nearby. There’s nothing too shocking, original or wholly noteworthy here. The premise is rather thin and weak, not holding up to much scrutiny. There are no solidly defining moments, nor revelations or moments of clarity. It all just feels like a bit of a bumble throughout.

Overall direction here seemed rather lacklustre and not overly well thought out. Lighting wasn’t always up to scratch, making some scenes look somewhat shoddy or too dark. Camera effects were designed to be aiding the cause of heightened tensions and atmosphere, but served really to show a degree of ineptitude.

The cast is, on the surface, quite tempting. We get Anthony Hopkins (Arthur Denning), Josh Duhamel (Ben Caill), Al Pacino (Charles Abrams), Julia Stiles (Jane Clemente), Glen Powell (Doug Fields) and Alice Eve (Charlotte Cahill), among others. Duhamel was watchable, and pretty much the only thing that kept me watching through what was a rather tough slog of a film. Hopkins and Pacino were almost like afterthoughts, there as pretty faces whilst Duhamel carried the brunt of the film. Even the wife, played by Eve, seemed lacklustre. Characters didn’t really stand out for any positive reasons, and it all just felt rather bland and none too believable or authentic.

It’s probably not surprising the cast struggled to improve the film given the rather uninspiring script and weak premise. Despite having this corrupt and ruthless executive, a crazy ex in the background and murder creeping in, there isn’t a sense of cut-the-atmosphere-with-a-knife kind of tension. It just felt rather bland, meek and mild, and jerky given the strange camera and lighting.

It’s also a little on the dull and slow side. Rather than being a slow burner that then grips and shocks you awake, it never seems to quite make it over the hump. I would therefore say that Misconduct is sadly rather forgettable. The DVD offers up nothing of interest, so really the cover is probably the best part.

The estimated budget of $11,000,000 is likely to have been spent predominantly on the cast, ensuring the inclusion of names such as Hopkins, Pacino and Duhamel. As many critics have suggested, it seems odd that such actors would have even agreed to this film, and it certainly won’t be one of the memorable or positive references on their resumes. It scores a rather mediocre 5.3 on IMDB.

All in all, don’t be misled by the big names and a ruthless, gritty blurb on the DVD cover. Misconduct is, sadly, a rather dull and unmemorable experience only made watchable thanks to Duhamel carrying its weight and the hope as a viewer that things will get better (they don’t).

DVD released August 2016, running time 106 minutes, rated Certificate 15.
DVD selling for £5 (Amazon).

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Product Information : Misconduct (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Genre: Thriller

Video Category: Feature Film

Actor(s): Josh Duhamel, Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, Alice Eve, Julia Stiles

DVD Region: DVD

Actor(s) (Last name, First name): Hopkins, Anthony, Pacino, Al

Director(s): Shintaro Shimosawa

EAN: 5060105723889

Classification: 15 years and over

Production Year: 2016


Listed on Ciao since: 13/10/2016