Director: Shintaro Shimosawa
Major Players: Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, Josh Duhamel
Out Of Five: 2
It’s official. I’m worried about Anthony Hopkins. With great performances under his belt at the National Theatre, films like Silence Of The Lambs, The Remains Of The Day and more plus, more recently on TV, in The Dresser, his latest film choices have been substantially beneath him. Think Kidnapping Freddie Heineken. They’re B-movie equivalents, not especially good ones, and all he has to do is phone in his performance and collect the pay cheque. In return, they cash in on his name in the hope of ticket and/or DVD sales.
All of which perfectly describes Misconduct. While he appears prominently on the poster and cast list, his is a supporting a role. Not, thankfully, a mere cameo but certainly not the lead. Yet in this instance, another top Hollywood name is treading exactly the same path. Al Pacino. Like Hopkins, he’s on the poster, high on the cast but, yet again, it’s a supporting role and not so much a piece of acting as a collection of mannerisms.
The actual lead, although you wouldn’t think it, is played by Josh Duhamel, as an ambitious lawyer who bumps into an old flame. She’s dating the CEO of a pharmaceutical company (Hopkins) and wants out, so she gives her ex a data stick containing incriminating evidence with the aim of putting her billionaire boyfriend behind bars for good. But when things don’t go according to plan, blackmail, murder and corruption are the inevitable result.
All the presence of Hopkins and Pacino does is to remind us that the 70s and 80s are a long time ago and that’s really where this by-the-numbers attempt at thriller belongs. Incidentally, blackmail, murder and corruption are just the start in this convoluted screenplay, so don’t worry if it doesn’t seem to make sense. It doesn’t. It also has some ludicrous characters, like a foul-mouthed security agent and a Korean accountant moonlighting as an assassin and behaving like a latter day ninja. Like Pacino says, before he goes right over the top, “pardon the theatrics.”
With two actors who we know can do so much more – and so much better – it’s sad to say that there’s little to recommend the film. Not even the photography can redeem it: it has moments of style and then ruins the effect by shooting characters from the shoulders down. In effect, headless.
I’m still trying to figure out why this depressingly derivative attempt at a thriller is even getting a cinema release, but is. Thankfully it’s limited and it’s a safe bet that the audience for this will be too. Misconduct? Misguided, more like.
Misconduct is released in cinemas on Friday, 3 June and reviewed on Talking Pictures on Thursday, 2 June.