We are treated this time not to death, explosions, and car chases, but to that good old-fashioned device: a rousing story.

DISCLOSURE

A Illusion review by Joan Ellis.


"Disclosure" is dynamite. It's a beach book brought to galloping life in December. Thanks to Michael Crichton's topical novel of sexual harassment and Paul Attanasio's tight, witty screenplay, the movie is a true suspense thriller. We are treated this time not to death, explosions, and car chases, but to that good old-fashioned device: a rousing story. The movie pretends to be nothing more than that, and in this case, that's more than enough. Without pretension, who can quibble? This is Hollywood's high gloss vision of the future.

Tom Sanders (Michael Douglas) is a golden boy at DigiCom, a Seattle computer firm that has flown into the big-time confusion that accompanies success. Corporate suits are running the company, while the scruffy young geniuses who developed the goods watch from the sidelines. Tom has made the transition from scruff to suit and is about to be rewarded with a promotion. We know he keeps one foot in his old world because he has long hair, a backpack, and a happy family.

Headman Bob Garvin (Donald Sutherland) stabs Tom in the back by installing an outsider, Meredith Johnson (Demi Moore), as his new boss. She is Tom's very hot flame from long ago, and she wastes not a moment putting him in his place. With her body and ultimatums at full throttle, Meredith demands sex, and when Tom refuses, she turns the tables on the current idiom by charging him with sexual harassment. The rest of the movie is the human equivalent of a car chase. Can she prove he caused the glitch in the software? Will he be shipped off to Austin? Can she destroy him?

Fittingly, the resolution takes place in Virtual Reality. Tom keys himself into the company's file room, a computerized architectural rendering of that other world we all know is coming our way. Much of the zing and sizzle of the movie comes from the glitzy production that submerges us in a world of E-Mail, matrix displays and CD-ROM. These are the tools and treasures of this contemporary company (read Microsoft?). The people who use them, however, are good old emotionally violent, reliably selfish human beings--except for Tom.

Michael Douglas is a very emotional actor with a zeal for hitting topical nerves. "Sexual harassment is not about sex," Tom says, "it's about power." Douglas has chosen a movie about a man who does not have the power and a woman who does. Demi Moore is convincing as a predatory beast bent on revenge. In his specialty, Donald Sutherland spreads an oil slick over his corporate giant. Caroline Goodall enlivens the potentially drab part of the loyal, noble wife; and Rosemary Forsyth and Roma Maffia sparkle in supporting roles.

And there it is: A critic with an aversion to beach books is unreasonably and happily absorbed by one, proving that anything can happen with tight writing and direction, and a very good cast.


Film Critic: JOAN ELLIS
Word Count: 491
Studio: Warner Bros.
Rating: R 2h7m


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