I didn’t think it could possibly happen, but it did: Lionsgate has handed me the Worst Movie of 2016 (so far). The film is EXPOSED, and it stars Keanu Reeves and Ana de Armas, two actors I usually enjoy onscreen. What makes this situation even more sad is that the film could have been mesmerizing. Unfortunately, this is a scenario where the executives at the film company thought they knew better than the director. The result is a garbled mess of a film that is a massive waste of time and money.
If you are not familiar with EXPOSED, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:
As New York City Detective Scotty Galban (Keanu Reeves) investigates the death of his partner, he begins to unravel clues about disturbing police corruption and a dangerous secret leading him to a troubled young woman (Ana de Armas), who holds the key to solving his partner’s murder.
If you don’t recognize the director’s name, don’t be surprised; it’s not a real name. It’s used as a way to shield the original director from the travesty the film company edited together. According to IMDB, here is the “director’s” bio:
“Declan Dale is a pseudonym used much in the way that the name Alan Smithee was used for films that a director has disowned. Dale’s only film is Exposed, a Keanu Reeves thriller that was significantly edited by Lionsgate Premiere without the original director’s permission. The film, originally titled DAUGHTER OF GOD, was a surreal bi-lingual drama, reminiscent of PAN’S LABYRINTH and IRREVERSIBLE, that focused on child abuse, violence towards women, mass incarceration, and police violence committed under the color of authority. However, the executives at Lionsgate Premiere thought they had been sold a Keanu Reeves cop-thriller. To increase the film’s potential box office, during the editing process Lionsgate changed the story’s focus to center on Reeves’ character, and changed the movie into a generic crime-thriller. The director disowned the film, using the pseudonym of Declan Dale.”
This pretty much says everything you need to know about EXPOSED. If you watch it, you’ll feel like you’re viewing two separate films that were spliced together. There’s no coherency in the plot, and thus, no entertainment value at all.
I read online that Keanu Reeves’ character was supposed to be a secondary and lesser figure in the film; the primary focus was supposed to be Ana de Armas and her plight. Shifting gears and trying to use a lesser character as the main destroyed the plotline and therefore fractured my viewing experience. I am stunned this film was even released; it should have been scrapped.
EXPOSED is a huge NO for me, and I cannot recommend it. The original concept of the film sounds like it would have been interesting and fun. But instead, thanks to the quest for the almighty dollar, we are given a poor excuse for a film. It is available now, if you decide to take a look.