DISCLOSURE Film Review
DISCLOSURE ponders on the scenario of what would you do if your child shares that they’ve been sexually assaulted, and the butterfly effects of your reaction.
On paper, the micro-budget production and adults screaming at each other in a small space trope seems tried and tested. However, DISCLOSURE’s subtle storytelling and poetic imagery rose above the budget constraints and potential banality. The film delivers a tense, uncomfortable and timely Australian drama on the cyclic nature of abuse and trauma.
Set in an upper-class Victorian neighbourhood (Dandenong Ranges), the film centres around two initially amicable couples. Filmmaker Emily Bowman (Matilda Ridgway) and Journalist Danny Bowman (Mark Leonard Winter). And politician Joel Chalmers (Tom Wren) and his housewife Bek Chalmers (Geraldine Hakewill). The two couples have come together to discuss a shocking revelation about their children.
Emily and Danny’s 4-year-old daughter, Natasha, has made a serious allegation against Joel and Bek’s 9-year-old son, Ethan. Underpinned by unresolved trauma, political fallout, and conservatism, their conversations degenerate into a vicious confrontation.
DISCLOSURE is writer-director Michael Bentham’s feature film debut. With a runtime of 84 minutes that is almost exclusively dialogue, Bentham manages to engage and heighten the tense atmosphere by slowly shedding the characters complex history and showing their different perspectives. And when the film finally succumbs to the bubbling melodrama, it feels rightfully deserving.
Elevating the strong script are the gripping performances of the four actors. Hakewill especially shines as Bek, portraying her complex emotions as a mother in denial and a sexual assault survivor. Her character is both infuriating and devastatingly sympathetic, capturing the endless cycle of trauma.
Cinematography-wise, DISCLOSURE is unapologetically low budget, utilising the limitations to give the film a sense of realism. The film features a lot of long takes. Also, the film is mainly captured from a medium shot or a close shot with a steady cam. These choices add to the uncomfortableness by forcing viewers to confront the actors’ raw emotions from their slightest furrowed brow or twitchy smile.
DISCLOSURE does not explore new territories. However, the skilful execution and the timely theme makes it an excellent addition to Australian cinema and is definitely a worthwhile watch.
When From 15 September 2021
Where Rentable on Home Entertainment Platforms