Exposed (2016)

Exposed (2016)
  • Time: 102 min
  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: Gee Malik Linton
  • Cast: Keanu Reeves, Ana de Armas, Mira Sorvino, Christopher McDonald


A police detective investigates the truth behind his partner’s death. The mysterious case reveals disturbing police corruption and a dangerous secret involving an unlikely young woman.


  • Unknown director (with a pseudonym to boot). Generic title. Big name stars who you sense are doing it for a paycheck. Released by way of video on demand instead of theatrical. Sound familiar? It should. If you’ve seen reviews for movies like The Prince or Vice, then Exposed (my latest write-up) is embedded in that category. Yeah it’s lousy like the aforementioned vehicles but in a different way. Vice and “Prince” have a sense of coherency. You can mostly follow their every beat. Exposed is just messy. There were times when I didn’t know what it was that I saw. So OK, what were you thinking Mira Sorvino? What were you thinking Michael Rispoli? And Christopher McDonald, what the heck?

    Anyway, watching this thing is like viewing two different films at once. I don’t know how to classify it. You could call Exposed a nonprofessional indie. You could call it a crime drama/supernatural charade. Heck, you could claim it to be a foreign language flick starring Keanu “whoa” Reeves (huh?). No matter how you interpret things, there’s 102 minutes here that feels like 3 hours. When its best performance is given by a washed-up, recluse rapper (Big Daddy Kane), you know the proceedings are in trouble. When its opening sequence takes forever and sets a bad precedent for what lies ahead, you know the proceedings are in trouble. And finally, when its director doesn’t want to reveal his (or her) actual name, you know the proceedings are in trouble. Exposed can easily be renamed, Excruciating.

    Speaking of said director, he may be a rookie or he may be a veteran. Either way, Declan Dale (or whatever his name is) lets you know it’s amateur night right off the bat. It’s clear from the opening credits (of Exposed) that he can’t effectively set up a shot, can’t frame a scene, doesn’t know when to infuse a close-up, doesn’t know where to put the camera, doesn’t use a zoom out at the right time, and can’t juggle his many, muddled subplots. Scenes in Exposed are either too long-winded or not nearly long enough. And Dale’s editing team could have been a pack of monkeys and the audience wouldn’t even know the difference. Tone is absent, dramatic momentum starts up only to get sucked into the wind, and laughable overacting comes on like gangbusters. I paid $6.99 to watch this movie on XFINITY. If I paid $1.50 for it on Redbox, it still would have been a bad investment.

    Filmed in an uncommon part of New York City, distributed by Lionsgate Premiere, and originally titled Daughter of God, Exposed jots back and forth to chronicle the lives of two different, combative characters. First we have Scott Galban (played by Keanu Reeves). He is your typical, doom and gloom detective. His wife passed away, his son has been taken from him, he has almost no friends, and his partner (Joey Cullen played by Danny Hoch) just got murdered in an underground subway. Galban against mild orders from his superior (Lt. Galway played by Christopher McDonald), investigates the reality of his partner’s death. He goes around asking questions yet every witness he talks to, gets murdered. Second, there’s Isabel de La Cruz (played by Ana de Armas). She’s the only witness that Galban hasn’t talked to yet. Her character is borderline schizo. She becomes pregnant by way of a miracle, she has visions of ghostly apparitions, there’s a side plot about her husband being stationed in Iraq, and she ultimately wanders the film as though she’s a lost puppy. Throughout Exposed, we as the audience see Isabel the most. Many frustrating scenes involve her, her family, and her friends constantly gabbing in Spanish (when all of them obviously speak English). As for Reeves, well we only see his screen time in bits and pieces. His presence is never developed or consistent. Like I mentioned in the second paragraph, Exposed feels like you’re watching two separate vignettes altogether. They’re so unconnected from each other, it makes the film totally shapeless. When every plot element finally comes full circle (in the concluding scenes), you feel the damage has already been done. Exposed “exposes” itself to be a real scrape. Rating: 1 and a half stars.

    Of note: A lot of death occurs in Exposed yet we never see it. Heck, we don’t even see any of the actual aftermath. It’s like the film is trying to be 1995’s Se7en but is too lazy to explain why A led to B. Is it possible the studios didn’t want to go over budget? Maybe. Is it possible director Dale didn’t know how to make homicide scenes look believable? Maybe so. Or did the special effects crew run out of fake blood? Oh yeah, that’s it. Yeesh! Also of note: I usually give Keanu Reeves a pass because a lot of moviegoers think he can’t act. I’ve seen him do solid work in Point Break, Speed, and Street Kings. I know what he’s capable of. In Exposed however, he hits a wall by showing us the ultimate, wooden moment. There’s a scene where he sits in his police car, gets upset, shows frustration, yells at himself, and bangs his hands on the steering wheel. To say this is laughable would be an understatement.

    Rating: 1.5 out of 4 stars

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  • “You know, he was very dirty. And, unfortunately, his dirt caught up with him. But at least his wife will get his full pension. Now, the more you dig the more you risk screwing up that pension for his wife and kids. And I don’t think you want that on your conscience.”

    “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.

    This movie won’t make you really cheerful. Sadness is omnipresent. There’s detective Galban (Keanu Reeves), who looks sad the whole movie. That isn’t surprising. First he lost his wife and now his partner. And it seems that Galban’s partner Joey surely wasn’t a saint. On the contrary, totally corrupt. That’s why Galban’s investigation is being thwarted because one fears that the reputation of the department would be harmed. And also Joey’s pension could well become compromised. Something Joey’s wife Janine (Miro Sorvino) is entitled to. Next there’s the Cuban girl Isabel (Ana de Armas), whose devout attitude is admirable on the one hand and on the other disturbing. The visions that she has, cause confusion. Are they the result of intensive religiosity? Or are they delusions which are the result of deep-rooted psychological injuries? As a kindergarten teacher she makes a connection with the lovely girl Elisa (Venus Ariel). This little girl also suffers from a not so ideal family situation. As you can see, it is all doom and gloom.

    Reeves wasn’t so bad in “47 Ronin”. And he was stunning in “John Wick”. This dark thriller lends itself well to a figure like Reeves. That sad look. The indifference and numbness. And then there’s a sudden personality change, after which he beats up someone while his child is watching. Unfortunately this sad, hopeless expression on Reeves face started to irritate. The acting wasn’t really awful, but it also wasn’t something to brag about. Ana de Armas acted much better. But even her magnificent performance, couldn’t save this film.

    “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. And those angels also looked terrible. As if they were strayed and foolish persons who just returned from carnival in Rio.

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