Disclosure explores the lengths we are prepared to go to protect our children – looking at it from both ends of the spectrum. Getting past the film’s rather erotic opening segments, Disclosure gives us an, often uncomfortable, intimate glimpse into the lives of two sets of parents after an alleged incident involving children. This is by no means a family film, the subject material is a difficult pill to swallow – mirrored by the increasingly uneasy, aggravated and excruciating interactions between the main characters as they squirm and struggle to come to an amicable solution.
At its surface, the 2020 Aussie film, directed cleverly by Michael Bentham in his directorial debut, has all the charms of an Indie film. It doesn’t play to the rules of your conventional ‘pop-corn’ Hollywood film. At times it is almost like watching a play, what with its very long scenes and very still and very limited frames. Instead, the characters move about the frames as if on a stage with almost no camera movement. The performances are raw and totally absorbing. The filming style may not to be everyone’s tastes, and some could say that the limited shots used combined with the long scenes are amateurish. But these are done deliberately and with great effect. This is a great debut for a burgeoning director. What we get is a very private, intimate and intrusive view of these characters’ story with a very deliberate and considered narrative style. It feels like we’re prying, listening and viewing something we shouldn’t, or something the characters wouldn’t want us to be privy to. This totally suits the story and tone of the text.
My only negative feedback is that, due to the frames being still and the scenes long, sometimes we are watching the back of actors’ heads during moments of dialogue. This doesn’t seem to imply that what they are discussing isn’t something we should not be observing, more an issue with staging and positioning of actors. Also, sometimes due to the static framing, we do not see what the actors are talking about (something offscreen), which can be a little jarring. However, I am picking at straws here.
All in all, a very clever, interesting film (and not a patronizing ‘interesting’ either), with raw emotion, and a refreshing and unusual visual style that may not appeal to all. Great drama and a strong debut by Michael Bentham. Give it a go.
Rating: R16 Restricted to persons 16 years and over. Sexual abuse themes, sex scenes & offensive language.
GEEKERY rating: 4/5