HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:62
Sometimes some stories are left buried. That tag line is part of “Exposed” and its narrative, but also applies to the rocky start that the movie had getting off the ground. I’m a HUGE Keanu Reeves fan and have been following him ever since I was old enough to see “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”. He’s a decent actor who’s made some poor film decisions, but he has also starred in some of my favorite movies. After his career tanked in the mid 2005 era, I have been more than ecstatic to see the venerable actor come back into the limelight with films like “John Wick” and “Knock Knock) (also starring Ana De Armas who plays the lead in “Exposed”). An hour and forty two minutes after I started “Exposed” I understand WHY this 2009 movie was shuffled to the back burner for so many years.
Detective Scott Galban (Keanu Reeves) is investigating the murder of his partner when said partner turns up dead in a subway. However things are not always exactly as they seem. The more he uncovers about his partner’s actions the more he and the audience realize that the guy may have had it coming. Even his police chief (Christopher McDonald) urges Scott to brush this under the rug as any more devling into the dead cop’s murder will uncover a whole host of problems including police brutality, drug trafficking and sexual assaults. Many of which were done by the deceased. Refusing to give up, Detective Galban digs deeper and deeper with only the photo of a beautiful Latino woman as his only real lead to the incident.
Simultaneously we are told the story of Isabel De La Cruz (Ana De Armas) who was in that Subway that night. Here story is much less a police drama and more a spiritual and metaphysical story as she was on that subway platform that night and comes home after experiencing a visage of an albino man who can walk on air. Her plotline is easily the most confusing, but from what can be gathered she sees apparitions relating to that night in the tunnel. The albino man, a mysterious white faced woman etc. After losing her boyfriend due to his job in the military, she’s left alone and with her in-laws, only to mysteriously fall pregnant. To make matters worse, she is taking care of a student named Elisa (Venus Ariel) who seems to carry a strange link to her own past.
Just from reading my description I’m sure you’re a little confused. How do the two stories fit together? In reality they only do so tenuously. The original tale by Gee Malik Linton was a surreal and metaphysical story about Isabel including subplots of child abuse, corruption and sexual assault victims. When Lionsgate bought the film rights they were under the assumption that this was going to be a Keanu Reeves police thriller, and not a bilingual film that spent a majority of the time focused on Isabel with Keanu’s Detective Galban being a background character. Disappointed with what they got, Lionsgate decided to completely recut the film and make it look like Keanu Reeves was the main character instead of Isabel, leaving her plot line almost completely unrelated to the police procedural part of the film. Even the last 15 minutes which bring the two stories together feel strangely disjointed and confusing.
Director Ge Malik Linton was so furious at what was done to his film that he legally sought for his name to be pulled from the director’s credit and was given a fake name of “Dale Declan”. Honestly, I really can’t blame him in the slightest. “Exposed” is a mess of a film that shows that it’s usually best to allow the director to make his own cuts instead of sloppily throwing something together like this. The police procedural part of the film is bland and uninspiring. So plodding in its narrative that you wonder why they even bothered. Keanu Reeves blank faces his way throughout the whole thing and you can very obviously tell that he was NOT supposed to be the main character. Isabel’s tale is weird and metaphysical, which could have worked in the original edit of the movie but with the more grounded police story taking center stage it just ends up being a confusing mess. I feel bad for Reeves as he got a bum rap her. His character was not meant to be that interesting, so when he’s put in the center of the action with a role that was originally filmed as a sub character his portrayal just falls flat. However, Ana De Armas is the one I REALLY feel bad for, as her arc was butchered and slashed apart so badly that it’s almost unrecognizable. Especially how well she acted with the limited screen time she gets.
Rated R for violence including a sexual assault, and for language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=68250[/img]Lionsgate brings “Exposed” to DVD with a decent looking 480 encode. The film has definitely been given some color grading and other stylistic choices in the filming process, some of which look great and others that tend to detract from the overall detail level. The scenes with Scotty (Reeves) look a bit bluer with some green tinges to the film, giving the hardened cop a rather icy feel. However when the focus is on Isabel there is a heavy amber filter applied to the whole picture. Reds appear a bit orangey and the syrupy thick amber tinge tends to look a bit soft. Overall the picture quality is good, but there is overt softness all over the place and the inclusion of some banding during the underground sequences throughout keep it from looking overly fantastic. “Exposed” has a solid DVD encoding that does the job well, it’s just that the heavy stylistic choices for color and texture keep it from being top shelf.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=68258[/img]The 5.1 Dolby Digital track fares just a little bit better than the video does. It’s never a really full and robust track, but the thriller’s audio experience is more than enough to satisfy listeners. Dialog is strong and precise, locked up in the center channel and the hustle and bustle of New York City adds some much needed ambiance to the back channels. LFE is fairly constrained throughout, but does poke its head out for some heavy down beats now and again. “Exposed” doesn’t require a whole lot of action from the surround experience, but the film does exactly what is asked of it without any complaints or hiccups.
• "The Making of Exposed"
• Extended Cast Interviews
• Theatrical Trailer
• Also from Lionsgate
I was really hoping for a good movie considering the upswing in Keanu Reeve’s career (especially with the inclusion of 90’s star Mira Sorvino and newcomer Ana De Armas). Sadly the end result is just an incoherent mess of a film that should have been stuck on the back burner indefinitely. Originally meant to shoot in 2009 the title role was shuffled off from Phillip Seymour Hoffman and given to Keanu Reeves before being shelved for years. Now many years later we can see exactly WHY it was shelved and just thank our lucky stars that Phillip Seymour Hoffman doesn’t have this on his legacy. Audio and video are decent enough and the extras are pretty weak, but the movie is the real reason to just skip this one.
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Ana De Armas, Mira Sorvino
Directed By: Declan Dale
Written By: Declan Dale, Gee Malik Linton
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 103 Minutes
DVD Release Date: March 29th, 2016
Buy Exposed Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Exposed DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Run In Terror
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