Review: Night Disclosure

Directed by A.J. Mattioli and written by Hamish Downie, Would you have an affair with your boss? When a young real estate agent, Marc, celebrates his big sale over a nightcap with his married boss, Tom, he soon finds himself in dangerous waters. Starring: Sean Patrick Murtagh and José D. Álvarez.

The strongest element of this short film is the writing, it slowly brings through number of different possibilities and avenues, leaving you unsure entirely where it’s headed. With its progression, it has edges of darkness, threat, guilt and opens a conversation about relationships, monogamy and longevity in a modern world. Every part of this duo’s conversation feels tinted with a curiosity or unspoken intentions and desires. The only issue or potential giveaway, is that the actions of its characters don’t always match the tone of its words. It may also have benefited from moving more swiftly, the pace may be a little slow for some viewers.

However, the possibilities which the writing opens aren’t explored or taken advantage of by the direction or acting. Unfortunately, there isn’t much chemistry to be found between these two actors, the biggest problem is that the performances come across as wooden or as though they’re trying too hard. Álvarez surprisingly feels like he’s playing into stereotypes, it’s disappointing to see from a queer actor who you’d imagine would be keenly aware of avoiding such pitfalls but even his movements feel exaggerated in a cliched manner. Murtagh on the other hand plays things overly straight-laced, adding a touch of pretention. These difficulties are a key factor in hindering the film from building any tangible atmosphere or energy.

It’s an issue which isn’t helped by the direction, which feels unsettled and struggles to hold a shot long enough to allow for a sincere tension or suspense to build. Rather than enhancing the story and the writing’s intentions, the two feel at odds, creating an unclear feel of what it’s ultimate goal really is. It also struggles to make an impression, as if there’s something out of sync, that its pieces aren’t all on the same page. It may have been helped by including more of a score, to bring out the emotions of the story but sadly the sound quality is too polished, lacking an edge to bring about more feeling.

Night Disclosure feels like its elements aren’t all trying to tell the same story. Avenues opened by the script are left unexplored by the performances and direction. The style is somewhat bland, not allowing for a strong atmosphere or energy. There was potential in this story but ultimately, the final product feels out of sync with itself.

Verdict: ✯½ | 3/10

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