Misconduct (2016)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Misconduct</strong> (2016)

(Video on Demand, April 2016) I may have seen Misconduct a mere three days after its simultaneous theatre-and-VOD release, it still felt like an old-school thriller in many ways. The cast certainly recalls days gone by, with headliners Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino showing up for a few menacing scenes despite the lead role going to the rather bland Josh Duhamel. At times, the film’s twisted-but-straightforward plotting recalls a quasi-endless number of basic thrillers that used to fill cineplexes back when they weren’t obsessed with franchise instalments. Occasionally, there is a Hitchcockian vibe to the way the images and audio cues are used to alarm viewers. But little of it amounts to much more than a derivative, competent thriller. It’s not without its good moments: Hopkins and Pacino are at ease in roles that suit their persona. First-time director Shintaro Shimosawa can stage a few decent set pieces, although the film doesn’t quite sustain its energy throughout. The plot is a big bowl of nonsense: It works best when it quickly moves over its dullest moment (the beginning is particularly intriguing, at least until it becomes a framing device), but it trips over its own plot threads. The result isn’t bad: strictly speaking, there’s much worse out there with the availability of cheap thrillers on streaming and on-demand platforms. But Misconduct doesn’t amount to much, especially considering the calibre of its two best-known actors. At best, it makes for undemanding evening entertainment.

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