Cert: 15 Runtime: 102 mins Director: Declan Dale Cast: Keanu Reeves, Ana de Armas, Christopher Mcdonald and Mira Sorvino
Some secrets are better left buried
Keanu Reeves was my only reason to watch Exposed, sometimes you get a gem with him sometimes not. Knock Knock was a great surprise last year, and Ana de Armas from the films stars along side Reeves here too. So what is Exposed about? Detective Galban (Keanu Reeves), finds his partner and close friend, Detective Cullen, murdered in an underground subway. On the hunt for the killer, Galban begins to suspect his partner may have been heavily involved in drug dealing and police corruption. As Galban investigates, people who knew Cullen, are conveniently found dead. The closer Galban gets to the truth, both Cullen’s wife, Janine (Mira Sorvino), tries to persuade him to back off, fearing his findings may discredit Cullen and expose corruption within the Police Department. Galban’s only remaining lead is Isabel (Ana de Armas), a young, devout, Latino girl, who resides with her in-laws. Galban fears her life could be in jeopardy should he get too close to her. However, Isabel has recently experienced something not from this world, something mystical that she believes is truly a miracle. Not unlike Galban, Isabel is dealing with her own demons from the past; a past that just may lead them to the truth; in turn, bringing both some form of assurance.
Of great interest in considering the failure of this film, the following is about the director: ‘Declan Dale is a pseudonym used much in the way that the name Alan Smithee was used for films that a director has disowned. Dale’s only film is Exposed, a Keanu Reeves thriller that was significantly edited by Lionsgate Premiere without the original director’s permission. The film, originally titled Daughter of God, was a surreal bi-lingual drama, reminiscent of Pan’s Labyrinth and Irreversible, that focused on child abuse, violence towards women, mass incarceration, and police violence committed under the color of authority. However, the executives at Lionsgate Premiere thought they had been sold a Keanu Reeves cop-thriller. To increase the film’s potential box office, during the editing process Lionsgate changed the story’s focus to center on Reeves’ character, and changed the movie into a generic crime-thriller. The director disowned the film, using the pseudonym of Declan Dale. And apparently the same situation occurred with the writer Gee Malik Linton.
Exposed isn’t really a complicated movie. It just all seems quite arty and metaphysical. Throughout the film you ask yourself what in God’s name is going on. What’s the meaning of those appearances? How do the different story lines correlate? It started intriguing and mysterious at first, but gradually the whole film bogged down into a painfully slow psychological drama with not much to be seen. Several themes are intertwined with one another in an attempt to trick you and provide a surprising denouement. “Exposed” first looks like a typical crime film with the murder of a police detective. Then the second story is introduced, starring a deeply religious woman who’s staying in such high spheres that angelic apparitions become part of her daily life. But in the background other tragic events are simmering with abuse as a base. Ultimately it results in a psychological thriller where a confused human psyche could be the cause. Surprising? Yes. But at that time, it was a bit too much.Exposed is a mess with a confusing story. And not just because of the content. The whole film is edited confusingly. It jumps from one subject to another. A movie which is overloaded with symbolism. And I guess the makers had a hard time to choose from several ideas. What remains is an incorrect balance between realism and surrealism. It tries to mix the profound subject of religion with crime, corruption and sexual abuse. A blatantly failed attempt resulting in a boring film with no precise objective as a final result.