Blu-ray Review: Exposed

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Not sure what the full story behind Exposed is, but the end result is fairly unwatchable. This Keanu Reeves-starring "thriller" (now available on Blu-ray via Lionsgate) reportedly went through significant changes in the editing room. As the credits rolled on this turkey, I did a bit of cursory research just to see what director Declan Dale might have had in mind. Turns out "Declan Dale" is the new Alan Smithee—a pseudonym directors use when their work is so badly mishandled they prefer to forgo credit.

Credited screenwriter Gee Malik Linton actually directed the film, which began life as Daughter of God. It was originally intended to be a bi-lingual narrative about a Latina woman living with a Dominican family. I won't try to sort out the details, which are incomplete without writer-director Linton's full account (if he has gone on record anywhere, I've yet to see it). Apparently, according to some crew members, there was concern the film would have too limited appeal and Reeves' supporting role was bulked up.

At any rate, the released film presents a strangled narrative that switches between the surreal tale of Isabel de La Cruz (Ana de Armas) and her apparent immaculate conception, and a police procedural involving the murder of Detective Scott Galban's (Reeves) partner.

The two halves don't fit together well. It's nearly impossible to get a feel for what's going on. Scenes feel edited together almost at random. Somehow Isabel's side half of the story makes sense (sort of) in the end, with the clumsy deployment of an M. Night Shyamalan-style twist. But getting through the full 102 minutes is nonetheless an endurance test.

ana de armas (220x219).jpgReeves underacts to the point of practically vanishing off the screen—one gets the sense he had no idea what function his character was meant to serve. After all, the plotting verges on nonsense. Mira Sorvino tries to carve a character out of her limited screen time as Reeves' late partner's widow. Only the gobsmackingly beautiful Ana de Armas rises above the whole mess. Not only is de Armas a drop-dead stunner, she conveys a sense of luminosity and grace that suggests she might have understood her role as originally conceived.

Lionsgate's Blu-ray offers an easily acceptable high definition transfer of Trevor Forrest's cinematography. The audio is lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1. There's a 'making of' featurette and a handful of interviews with cast members. If only we had a director's cut of Daughter of God to compare with Exposed. But alas that's unlikely to happen, which leaves Exposed unrecommendable.

Exposed BD (301x380).jpg

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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