profoundly unpopular professions are about to be pitted against each other. It
will be arrogant Big Pharma exec versus corner-cutting ambulance chaser. They
should also throw in some biased journalists and crooked politicians. Do
gold-diggers and assassins count? In any case, there will be scandal and
litigation aplenty in Shintaro Shimosawa’s Misconduct
opens tomorrow in New York.
Denning is fabulous rich, but he has his hands full. In addition to managing
the fallout from a disaster experimental drug trial, his trophy lover Emily
Hynes has been kidnapped for ransom. Denning genuinely seems to be interested
in getting her back, so he hires a pair of hostage recovery specialists.
However, there is something funny about Hynes’ abduction, as we learn when the
film rewinds a month or so.
you just love jumbled in media res openings? In this case, it is especially
confused, because it sends decidedly mixed signals with respect to Denning’s
character. Apparently, the real protagonist is Ben Cahill, a blow-dried mouthpiece,
who has thrown himself into his work instead of properly dealing with his wife’s
miscarriage. Cahill will file a class action suit against Denning based on information
illegally obtained from his old flame, Emily Hynes. Yes, she is definitely up
to something. We soon learn Hynes is planning to fake her own abduction. It is
a convoluted scheme that somehow involves a mysterious Korean assassin-enforcer
known as “The Account,” which has to be the saddest criminal nickname ever.
Misconduct is an absolute
narrative mess, which is too bad, because there are a few workable bits and
pieces in there. If Shimosawa had openly invited viewers to sympathize with
Denning, much like Freddy Heineken in Kidnapping Mr. Heineken or Kingo Gondo in High and Low, the film might have gotten some place. Julia Stiles’ foul mouthed
kidnapping specialist also has potential, but she disappears for most of the
film. Instead, we largely have to watch the pseudo-triangle of Josh Duhamel,
Alice Eve, and Malin Akerman, three actors who seem to work a lot, but nobody
really understands why. At least Akerman helps her case with a wonderfully
vampy femme fatale turn as Hynes.
Anthony Hopkins shows flashes of the old brilliance as Denning, but there is
only so much he can do with the underwritten, contradictory role. Sadly, Al
Pacino continues his slow decline, going down shouting as Cahill’s sleazy
senior partner, Charles Abams. International superstar Lee Byung-hun looks
utterly bored in his scenes as The Accountant, for good reason. To his credit,
Glen Powell brings more dignity than the film deserves as Cahill’s unheeded
voice-of-reason office mate, Doug Fields, whereas Duhamel and Eve are so dull
and plastic-looking, they sort of make a fitting couple as the Cahills.
could have just been a cheesy B-movie. There is
plenty of room in the world for another, especially since Akerman gives it some
kick. However, screenwriters Simon Boyes & Adam Mason rip-off (and
water-down) the twist ending that really launched the legal thriller craze in
1987, pre-Grisham. That’s just lame. Not recommended, Misconduct opens tomorrow (2/5) in New York, at the AMC Empire.
Labels: Al Pacino, Lee Byung-hun, Malin Akerman, Sir Anthony Hopkins