Exposed Blu-ray Review
You know a movie may not be a winner when the director takes his name off the project and when the movie title is changed as well. That is what happened with EXPOSED. It was originally called “Daughter of God” before changing it to the more generic title. Gee Malik Linton wrote and directed the film. Lionsgate Premiere though had the film reedited and cut down which upset Linton enough to distance himself from his premiere project. What we have at present is a film that starts off with promise, but gets more muddled as we go along. There is dialogue that doesn’t make sense in the story and everything doesn’t quite come together in the end.
EXPOSED is set in New York. It takes place mostly in Spanish Harlem with its distinctive Latino communities. Isabel (Ana de Armas) lives with her husband’s family. One night after going to a club with her brother-in-law Rocky (Gabe Vargas), she attempts to go home by the subway. This is the best sequence of the movie. It is tense and you just don’t know what will happen. We see her pass a musician and she helps a homeless man with his cart. She goes down a long corridor with her heels clicking on the pavement as the backdrop. Much of this is done without dialogue and has a spooky essence about it. She breaks one of her heels and sees a ghostly man hover over the subway tracks. Isabel doesn’t know what to think about that. She’s a deeply religious person and she believes in angels and such. She believes she saw something special.
We later find out that a detective was killed in that same subway. His name was Joey Mullen (Danny Hoch) who had a wife named Janine (Mira Sorvino) and a couple of kids. Detective Scott Calban (played with dour seriousness by Keanu Reeves) was his partner and friend. Scott is a recent widower and he had a rough go afterwards. He eventually had to send his son away to his sister, so she could take care of him while he got his act together. Scott quickly finds out that Joey was a rotten cop in every way. He stole from drug dealers and did other unspeakable acts. Scott knew that his partner skirted the law from time to time, but was unaware of the extent. Joey’s pension is on the line and Scott is informed to tread carefully and think about Joey’s family.
EXPOSED goes back and forth between a gritty cop thriller and a more supernatural film with Isabel. Isabel works hard as a teacher and a waitress. Her husband Jose (Ismael Cruz Cordova) is a soldier over in Iraq. She facetimes with him whenever possible. Isabel though becomes consumed with a little girl named Elisa (Venus Ariel) in her class. She’s concerned for her well being and thinks she is possibly being abused. Isabel is also seeing ghostly figures that appear out of nowhere and sometimes speak to her. These scenes get stranger and stranger. Even after watching the film, I still don’t know what these figures were supposed to represent.
Scott’s case takes him to a drug dealer named Black (Big Daddy Kane). Black may have been involved in dealings with Joey and Scott is trying to find out. But it gets harder as people disappear or get killed. Then you also have Scott getting more acquainted with the widow Janine. The scenes between Reeves and Sorvino have a bit of energy to them. It wakes up Reeves in a way. Janine knows more than she is letting on to. But she doesn’t want her husband’s name sullied. She is basically looking out for herself.
It is quite clear in viewing this piece that a major editing job was done. There are scenes and dialogue that just doesn’t make sense and it points to this. I go to a scene with Black and Rocky near the end as proof of it. The whole scene left me scratching my head at the action and a piece of dialogue that Rocky says to Black. It makes you think there are missing scenes out there that make clearer to what he is talking about.
There is also a surprise that isn’t that surprising for people who pay any type of attention. You may not know the result of the surprise, but you will certainly know it’s there. The film is quite jarring in how it goes from one genre to another and then to another. There needed to be more cohesion. I did like that the Spanish Harlem scenes were done mostly in Spanish. It felt true and believable. I think I wanted more from that area and with the family life of Isabel.
EXPOSED had promise to be a good film. But it sounds like it got sidetracked by the powers that be that were more concerned with profit then with the art. That’s a shame.
Video: The bustle and grittiness of New York is all on full display in its splendor.
Audio: The sound was generally solid. The atmosphere of New York is fully captured.
Making Exposed (12:08): The actors talk about the script and the characters they play. Many plaudits are given to Keanu Reeves. The glaring absence of the director/screenwriter of the film is quite evident here.
Keanu Reeves (8:05): He talks about the story, script and his character. He also discusses his fellow actors.
Mira Sorvino (6:16): The actress talks about the story and her character. She sees the many facets of her.
Ana de Armas (3:30): She talks about her role and the story itself. She also shares what it was like to work with Reeves.
Chris McDonald (3:30): He states the script drew him in. He refers to the story as a throwback to the 70s and 80s. He also talks about working with Reeves.
Michael Rispoli (3:29): He talks about the script and the journey of the film. He also discusses working with Reeves and in New York.
Big Daddy Kane (3:27): He talks about working in New York and with Reeves. He also discusses that he likes playing different types of characters. He also reveals his favorite scene.