MISCONDUCT – Review by Susan Granger

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Why would a neo-noir legal thriller, starring Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino, wind up on VOD, instead of in theaters? Because it’s inexcusably awful! Set in New Orleans, the plot revolves around Ben Cahill (Josh Duhamel), an ambitious young lawyer working on a class-action involving Arthur Denning (Anthony Hopkins), a smugly corrupt Big Pharma kingpin. Read more…

Ben’s wife Charlotte (Alice Eve) is a registered nurse who has become a workaholic to cloak her depression after her recent miscarriage.

Suddenly, Ben’s seductive ex-girlfriend Emily (Malin Akerman) contacts him, telling him she’s got incriminating computer files that will indict Denning, who just happens to be her current lover.

But when ethically-challenged Ben takes the evidence to his firm’s senior partner, Charles Abrams (Al Pacino), Emily is mysteriously kidnapped.

After that, not much is coherent. There’s Denning’s forthright security specialist (Julia Stiles) and a terminally ill South Korean hit-man (Byung-hun Lee), careening around on a motorbike.

If screenwriters Simon Boyes and Adam Mason came up with anything original, it eluded me, while debuting feature-film director Shintaro Shimosawa (co-producer of “The Grudge” and its sequel) discards logical progression and pacing in favor of curious camera angles devised by cinematographer Michael Fimognari. He particularly favors focusing on one character’s reaction to what’s being said by someone else; it’s a distracting film-school device that quickly becomes tedious.

While Josh Duhamel does his best with the melodramatic absurdity, it’s obvious that both Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino simply cashed their paychecks and moved on to more promising projects.

As for Malin Akerman, her coldly calculated performance seems to be streamed directly from her role as scheming Lara Axelrod on TV’s “Billions.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Misconduct” is a misbegotten 2. It’s an $11 million mistake.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.