Exposed – Review (* 1/2)

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Indeed, it turns out that even Keanu Reeves isn’t safe from the straight-to-VOD dungeon, yet Exposed is surely destined to be remembered for its controversial post-production process rather than, well, anything else.

Detective Scott Galban (Reeves) investigates his cop partner’s death, juxtaposed against the spiritual experiences of Isabel de La Cruz (Ana de Armas), a Latina woman who begins to perceive surreal, religious imagery all around her. Still, there’s a far more dramatic plot to be found in real life, what with director Gee Malik Linton taking his name off the project after Lionsgate reportedly re-edited it from his sprawling socio-political dramatic thriller into something much more generic, in an attempt to cash in on Reeves’ fame.

More damaging than the film being edited into oblivion is simply that this cut of Exposed is so oppressively dull, even with the bizarre aforementioned visuals, such as a tall albino man floating above a train track and a pale alien-like woman following Isabel around. Sadly, in this version of the film at least, the surreal doesn’t at all coalesce with the true crime elements, with the jarring end result proving more unintentionally hilarious then dramatically potent.

Moreover, there’s simply no rhythm to the film’s pacing; it fleets perfunctorily back and forth between Reeves’ and Armas’ stories like they’re two different films. Scenes are too short and get cut off before they even really get started, and the result is a near-total lack of audience investment.

The sloppy edit may also stem from an attempt to conceal just how little Reeves is actually in the movie despite his top-line billing; he spends just 31 minutes in the film (yes, I counted), desperately spliced and stretched over 102 minutes, though not even Thelma Schoonmaker herself could disguise that The Matrix star is barely in the third act at all.

There are a few genuinely good scenes – Mira Sorvino gets a few decent exchanges opposite Reeves – but mostly the cast, also including Christopher McDonald, are totally wasted here. Cue up two lame and manipulative plot twists to boot, and you’ve got the recipe for a movie that, ironically, still probably won’t make its investors any money. A sleazy, cynical attempt to profit while perverting an artist’s vision (regardless of whether or not Linton’s version is actually any good itself), Exposed is misguided garbage.

* 1/2

Exposed is available now on VOD


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