Disclosure (film)

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Disclosure
Disclosure ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Barry Levinson
Produced by Michael Crichton
Barry Levinson
Written by Paul Attanasio
Based on Disclosure 
by Michael Crichton
Starring Michael Douglas
Demi Moore
Donald Sutherland
Caroline Goodall
Dennis Miller
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Tony Pierce-Roberts
Edited by Stu Linder
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • December 9, 1994 (1994-12-09)
Running time
128 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $55 million[1]
Box office $214 million[2]

Disclosure is a 1994 semi-erotic thriller film directed by Barry Levinson, starring Michael Douglas and Demi Moore. It is based on Michael Crichton's novel of the same name.[3] The cast also includes Donald Sutherland, Rosemary Forsyth and Dennis Miller. The film is a combination thriller and slight mystery in an office setting brewing with politics and intrigue within a computer industry in the mid-1990s. The main focus of the story, from which the film and book take their titles, is the issue of sexual harassment and its power structure. The film invites viewers to critically examine topics such as the ease with which allegations of sexual harassment are lodged and if they can destroy one's career based on gender alone and whether a double standard exists in the society when such allegations are levied by men or women.

Plot summary[edit]

Technology company DigiCom is about to merge with a larger company, and company founder and president Bob Garvin (Donald Sutherland) plans to retire. Tom Sanders (Michael Douglas), head of manufacturing for the Seattle-based advanced products division, expects to be promoted to run the division, which is to be spun off as a publicly traded company after the merger. But instead operations executive Meredith Johnson (Demi Moore), a former girlfriend, is promoted to the post. The office talk is that Meredith is sleeping with Garvin.

Late that evening, Meredith calls Tom into her office, ostensibly to discuss severe defects with DigiCom's new standalone CD-ROM drive (Arcamax), being manufactured in Malaysia, to promote it as the active project for the upcoming merger. Once inside, Meredith forces herself onto him. Though tempted to reciprocate, he rebuffs her upon thinking of his wife and family. As he leaves, Meredith screams a threat to make him pay for spurning her.

The next day, Tom discovers that Meredith has filed a sexual harassment complaint against Tom with company legal counsel Philip Blackburn (Dylan Baker). To save the merger from a scandal, DigiCom officials demand that Tom accept reassignment to the company's Austin facility. If Tom does this, he will lose his stock options in the new company and ruin his career as the Austin factory is set up for sale after the merger which would leave him jobless in turn. Since no one believes his side of the story, Tom appears to have little choice.

Tom later receives an e-mail from someone identified only as "A FRIEND." It directs him to Seattle attorney Catherine Alvarez (Roma Maffia), who specializes in sexual harassment cases. Tom decides to sue DigiCom, alleging that Meredith is the one who harassed him. The initial mediation goes badly for Tom as Meredith turns everything around in her defense.

Next day, Garvin proposes privately to Tom that he wouldn't have to transfer if he would just drop the matter. This causes Tom to suspect that Meredith's accusations have a vulnerability. Tom remembers misdialing a number on his cell phone at the time of his meeting and Meredith throwing his phone (but not hanging up), thus inadvertently creating a recording on a colleague's voicemail of the entire encounter. Tom plays the recording at the next meeting and discredits Meredith completely. DigiCom agrees to a settlement calling for Meredith to be quietly eased out after the merger closes.

As Tom is celebrating his apparent victory, he receives another e-mail from "A FRIEND" warning that all is not what it seems. Tom overhears Meredith and Philip Blackburn saying that without the harassment accusation they'll make him look incompetent at the merger conference the next morning. If the problems with the CD-ROM drives are shown as coming from the production line under Tom's responsibility, he can be fired for cause.

Tom attempts to look for clues in the company database regarding the talk he overheard, but his access privileges have been revoked. He remembers that the merging company's executives have a DigiCom virtual reality demonstration machine in a hotel room with access to the company database. He breaks in to use it, but just as soon as he gets into DigiCom's files, he sees that Meredith is already deleting them. Not knowing what to do, Tom receives a call from a Malaysian colleague who helps Tom get copies of incriminating memos and videos. They show that Meredith was conspiring with the head of the manufacturing unit in Malaysia while she was with operations in Malaysia by changing the plant and product requirement specifications which Tom had implemented. These actions by Meredith to sabotage Tom's career directly caused the CD-ROM line's problems and delays.

When Tom makes his presentation at the conference and Meredith brings up the production problems, he turns the tables by showing the memos and a video exposing her involvement: Meredith's involvement to satisfy the Malaysian government's demand for human labor and her personal order for installation of lower-capacity air handlers, in addition to weakening other production control specifications which led to the hardware defects that would sabotage Tom's career. Meredith unsuccessfully proclaims that Tom is mounting a last-ditch effort to take revenge on her at the merger conference with all the stakeholders present. Meredith later discloses to Tom that these incidents had all played out as planned by Garvin and Blackburn and that she was just playing the victim card as a part. Tom rebuffs it.

Garvin, helpless, has no choice but to fire Meredith. Before retiring Garvin passes over Tom for the promotion and names chief financial officer Stephanie Kaplan (Rosemary Forsyth) to the V.P. post. Though Tom had expected the position would still be given to him, he's equally pleased with the decision that his colleague is getting the promotion, and he is chosen to be Stephanie's right hand man. Tom asks if Kaplan's son, Spencer, knows a "A FRIEND". Spencer, who attends the University of Washington, replies that he is Arthur Friend's research assistant. Tom consequently realizes that Spencer's help via Friend's office computer meant that Kaplan was likely the "friend" he was looking for. Spencer gives him a knowing look. At the end of the film, Tom is back with the production division and happily with his family.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Michael Crichton sold the movie rights for $1 million before the novel was published. Miloš Forman was originally attached to direct but left due to creative differences with Crichton. Barry Levinson and Alan J. Pakula were in contention to take the helm and Levinson was hired.

Annette Bening was originally set to play Meredith until she became pregnant and soon dropped out. Geena Davis and Michelle Pfeiffer were then considered before Levinson decided to cast Demi Moore. Crichton wrote the character Mark Lewyn for the film specifically with Dennis Miller in mind. The character from the book was somewhat modified for the screenplay to fit Miller's personality.

The virtual reality corridor sequence was designed by Industrial Light & Magic.[4]

Filming locations[edit]

The movie was filmed in and around Seattle, Washington. The fictional corporation DigiCom is located in Pioneer Square, on a set which was constructed for the film. Production designer Neil Spisak said, "DigiCom needed to have a hard edge to it, with lots of glass and a modern look juxtaposed against the old red brick which is indigenous to the Pioneer Square area of Seattle. Barry liked the idea of using glass so that wherever you looked you'd see workers in their offices or stopping to chat. This seemed to fit the ominous sense that Barry was looking for—a sort of Rear Window effect, where you're looking across at people in their private spaces."[4]

Also shown are the Washington State Ferries because Douglas' character lives on Bainbridge Island. Other locations include Washington Park Arboretum, Volunteer Park, the Four Seasons Hotel on University St., Pike Place Market and Smith Tower (Alvarez's law office).[5] The director of photography was the British cinematographer Tony Pierce-Roberts.

Soundtrack[edit]

The score of Disclosure was composed, orchestrated and conducted by Ennio Morricone. Original Motion Picture Soundtrack from the Film Disclosure was released by Virgin Records on January 24, 1995.[6]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Serene Family" − 4:11
  2. "An Unusual Approach" − 7:07
  3. "With Energy and Decision" − 2:07
  4. "Virtual Reality" − 6:24
  5. "Preparation and Victory" − 4:04
  6. "Disclosure" − 0:49
  7. "Sad Family" − 1:29
  8. "Unemployed!" − 1:10
  9. "Sex and Computers" − 2:50
  10. "Computers and Work" − 2:00
  11. "Sex and Power" − 2:33
  12. "First Passacaglia" − 4:21
  13. "Second Passacaglia" − 1:41
  14. "Third Passacaglia" − 4:33
  15. "Sex, Power and Computers" − 4:23[7]

Reception[edit]

Critic Roger Ebert called the film "basically a launch pad for sex scenes" and gave it only two stars out of a possible four. On the other hand, Ian Nathan of Empire magazine called it "genuinely gripping," further stating that "Demi Moore makes an awesome femme fatale." It currently has a rating of 6/10 on IMDb and a 59% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 58 reviews.

Disclosure was a soaring financial success, grossing $214 million worldwide ($83 million in domestic ticket sales and $131 million in other territories), against a budget of about $55 million.[8][9] It became one of director Barry Levinson's most successful films after his initial successes with Good Morning, Vietnam and Rain Man in 1987 and 1988, respectively.

In a review, Nathan Rabin described the film as superior to its source novel: "If there were an Academy Award for Best Screen Adaptation Of A Screamingly Awful, Viciously Sexist Novel, Disclosure would triumph. The film takes a preachy, disingenuous, and poorly written jeremiad against sexually aggressive women and turns it into a sleek, sexy, and only moderately sexist piece of Hollywood entertainment."[10] Rabin also argued, however, that ultimately the film's cast and crew could only "elevate the film to the level of sleek mediocrity."[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]