The new thriller Misconduct is getting kicked to the curb by its distributor, which is too bad, because director Shintaro Shimosawa’s debut feature boasts an elegant visual style and a mystery plot with so many absurd twists that the film becomes enjoyable high melodrama.
And, good grief, it co-stars Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino! Hopkins plays a New Orleans–based pharmaceutical king whose young wife, Emily (Malin Akerman), gives her ambitious lawyer ex Ben (Josh Duhamel) proof that her husband knew a drug was lethal. Ben launches a massive civil suit with the encouragement of his boss (Pacino), who hates Hopkins’s honcho, but days before the trial, Ben finds himself on the lam, wanted for murder.
It wouldn’t be fair to reveal much more about Ben’s dilemma except to say that it includes a pensive South Korean hit man (Lee Byung-hun) dying of an incurable disease. Misconduct was written by Simon Boyes and Adam Mason, but you might wonder whether that sad assassin didn’t come from Shimosawa, who’s infused a conventional thriller with a wry, sensuous energy that calls to mind vintage Brian De Palma (Carrie, Dressed to Kill). There are long, beautiful, continuous shots, with the camera (cinematography by Michael Fimognari) sometimes gliding past the actors, as if in search of another plot twist.
This sounds showy and distracting, but it’s not. It’s texture. It’s talent. It means this director should be taking meetings for his next movie.
Directed by Shintaro Shimosawa
Distributed by Lions Gate
Opens February 5, AMC Empire 25
Available on demand