Misconduct is a soap opera fuelled by star power.  However, the film doesn’t aspire to anything more than cheap scandalous thrills.

Don’t get me wrong: Shintaro Shimosawa’s directorial debut isn’t completely worthless.  For a while, it gives the viewer some guilty pleasures with scenery chewing and hackneyed betrayals.  The film’s entertainment is the equivalent to thrills experienced through reality television – we snicker at the fleeting shocks but are slowly drawn in to the unfolding events.

The plot and its ethics may sound dry on paper (a greedy lawyer is enticed by a big case only to be torn apart by other people involved) and logic isn’t Misconduct’s strong suit (a character comments on how deafening a dance club is, and then proceeds to have a fluent conversation), but actors Malin Akerman, Alice Eve, and Al Pacino give the film its sleazy spice.  Unfortunately, leading man Josh Duhamel has been left outside of the film’s secret – he tries too hard to make each line of dramatic dialogue matter – and Anthony Hopkins (apathetically playing a corrupt executive in question) shows possible regret towards the project with his pale performance.  If his goal was to express his disdain with modern thrillers, then mission accomplished, I guess.

Misconduct, a film that gets too serious and fails at supporting its triple digit runtime, would’ve been shamefully enjoyed at a brisk 80 minutes.  It’s a missed opportunity for beginner director Shintaro Shimosawa, who can at least fall back on his career as a producer.  Before Misconduct, he co-produced The Grudge and The Grudge 2.  After Misconduct, it’s clear Shimosawa’s real grudge is against two-shot framing.


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