I shall be revealing Exposed, laying bare its naughty parts, unearthing its treasures and removing the scabs from its sore spots to determine if it’s a hidden treasure or hiding something. So read on only if you’ve already seen Exposed, or don’t plan to.
As a critic, you know you’re going to have to sharpen your pencil and get ready to spew when the film you’re about to review had its name changed (from Daughter of God to Exposed) and the director himself sued to have his name removed from the movie because of extensive changes the studio made. The director, Gee Malik Linton, eventually settled on the pseudonym Declan Dale, and we the viewers have to settle for this.
[N.B. In order to not to spoil the integrity of the film, I’ve included a thorough analysis of the symbols at the bottom of this synthesis.]
[UPDATE: After posting this article, the producers of Daughter of God (the director’s cut of Exposed) gave me access to the original version of Exposed. Is is better? Find out at: WTF!? Daughter of God.]
0:03:28 A young Hispanic man (Gabe Vargas as Manuel ‘Rocky’ de la Cruz) escorts his sister-in-law (Ana de Armas as Isabel de la Cruz) to the underground from a late night club, and then returns to join his girlfriend and an ex-prison acquaintance. I recently saw Ana de Armas as Bell in Knock Knock, which also starred Keanu – it’s a small world but I wouldn’t want Reeves to act in it.
0:07:38 While Isabel waits for the tube under the watchful eye of a poster, she breaks a heel and a thick gold wedding ring slips off of her finger. From the way her entrance into the station was filmed, I was afraid something would happen to her. Now I’m afraid something won’t.
0:08:52 A hot albino with a briefcase (Stephen Thompson as Albino Floating Man), steps off of the platform and walks on air as thin as paper with a 2D sketch of an anorexic on it.
0:11:04 In front of last night’s subway entrance, Janine (Mira Sorvino), a sobbing Mother I’d Like To Forget, approaches an older looking Keanu Reeves as Detective Scott ‘Scotty’ Galban. She’s looking for whatever remains of her husband, Joey. The only corpse anyone gets to see, however, is Keanu acting.
0:15:18 Turns out the dead Joey was Detective Joey Cullen (Danny Hoch), Keanu’s partner. ‘Partner’ in the cop sense, not the “get clean sheets and we’ll do it again” sense. Or the “What do you mean you used our last check to buy domestic beer and scratch cards?” sense. Or what about the “listen to me for the next hour and a half while I read Facebook jokes to you” sense?
0:16:57 On Joey’s camera, found beside his body, were photos of Manuel, Isabel and Armando ‘Naldo’ Ruiz (Ariel Pacheco – Manuel’s prison friend) standing in front of the club the night before. Then there were some photos of an African American bloke who Detective Galban goes to spy on. Throughout this film, Keanu wears this expression that looks as though he’s constantly afraid someone is going to ask him to start acting well. I guess he has performance anxiety.
0:18:51 After telling her family about the floating albino, Isabel goes to her job teaching Hispanic tots about the devil. One little niña is sad because she lost her little horse. Either this is going to be important later on or I’ve just wasted 10 minutes swiping this out on my phone.
[N.B. It will be important later on.]
0:19:40 The rap song you’re hearing is “That’s Harr” by Jaquáe.
0:21:12 After the albino, Isabel now sees a different apparition as she leaves the toy store. Looks as though she’s meeting the ghost of a chance.
0:22:18 At his partner’s wake, where a little girl plays with the same plush unicorn Isabel’s student lost, we learn Galban lost his wife and that his son is in Florida. Hopefully, Galban won’t lose his son as well.
0:25:18 Galban and a female cop (Melissa Linton as Detective Rodriguez) arrest Jonathan ‘Black’ Jones (Big Daddy Kane), the mean looking character Galban was eyeing earlier. They suspect him of killing Joe. I suspect he’s famous for something other than acting. (I was right, Big Daddy Kane was a rapper famous in the 80s & 90s. Often those who act badly in films are good in another domain; Keanu being the exception that proves the rule.)
0:26:36 Kendu Wallace and his significant other are found dead in their apartment with a bullet each in their head. Kendu was Joey’s snitch and is the one who gave up Black to Galban [at 0:14:11]. He won’t make that mistake again.
0:27:51 Isabel and the fam Skype with her husband José de la Cruz (Ismael Cruz Cordova), who’s in Iraq. Josés brother (Manuel) swears he won’t go back to prison and that he just wants to work in the butcher shop. Ah, boys handling their meat…
0:29:06 Black tells Naldo that when he was in holding, the police showed him ‘snitch pictures’ of Naldo with a ‘Dominican nigga’. Naldo says he was with Rocky, but I think he’s got the wrong film.
He [Detective Joey Cullen] violated my nigga with a stick, man. … It’s just crazy that he did that to Rocky, who just got out.
Naldo to Black
Does that make it a ‘stick up’?
Isabel [Skyping with José]: The other day, I saw something beautiful.
Husband: What did you see?
Isabel: It’s hard to explain, or understand… But… It showed me you were coming back soon.
‘Hard to explain or understand’? Did she see this film?
0:32:37 Police Lieutenant Galway (Christopher McDonald) tells Scotty that Joey was very dirty and that his dirt caught up with him. Then he says Scott shouldn’t dig too deeply in the investigation because the widow may lose her husband’s pension. Still, knowing Galban, the more dirt there is, the more he’s going to dig.
0:33:18 The Lieutenant tells Scott to forget Black as a suspect, even if he had a motive (Cullen was blackmailing him). Cullen was dirty, and not the good kind.
0:33:57 I have the feeling they’re using a clearer filter when they shoot Isabel, to symbolize she’s on a different plane. Either that or she’s simply brighter than everyone else.
0:37:42 WTF!? Isabel thinks she sees the child she knows (Venus Ariel as Eilsa, the girl with the plush toy) being kidnapped so she gets off the bus 500 meters later but doesn’t run after the girl? She chooses instead to stand there and turn in circles and freak out when she sees an elderly African American woman with an eye print on her bag? The bag may see, but I don’t.
0:42:57 In New York, José’s pit-bull is run over and killed. His name is Lucky, but he wasn’t.
0:43:31 The Marines pay a visit to the de la Cruz household to inform them José isn’t coming back from Iraq. Perhaps they should call him ‘Lucky’, too.
0:45:46 WTF!? Now they’re saying Naldo is dead as well? Black is the leading cause of death in this movie, and that’s not racist, that’s the script.
0:49:04 Isabel is at the day care, waiting on Elisa’s mum. I suspect the little girl doesn’t exist, so they’re going to wait for a long time. I’m starting to have a Sixth Sense about this film.
0:50:37 Isabel drops off the child but the man who answers the door is the Hispanic cowboy she spotted from the bus (0:37:42). She leaves the little girl but feels so bad about it we have to watch her throw up. I suspect my reaction to this film is contagious.
0:51:12 Of course she’s pregnant! A woman spitting up in a film is so often pregnant that I’m beginning to suspect vomit is the leading cause of pregnancy in cinema.
0:52:46 Joey’s widow (Mira Sorvino as Janine) comes on to Scotty by eating a cupcake. She tries to be hot enough to make his dough rise.
0:55:02 Isabel tells her husband’s family (mother-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law…) that she has good news. José had been in Iraq for a year, but she’s miraculously pregnant! Her in-laws shun her – it seems they are not as religious as she believed.
0:57:18 The best part of this film was them not showing us Keanu’s sex scene.
0:58:02 Janine tells Scotty her husband did rape Manuel with a broomstick. I find that so horrible that I vow never to touch a broom again in my life.
1:01:36 Scotty calls the young son he’s too afraid to raise to thank the lad for the home-made birthday card. The son’s absence rings strange to me. Either something is going on with the kid or this film is written by one.
1:07:24 Isabel’s in-laws throw her out and she’s forced to return to her real parents, whom she hates as much as her in-laws hate her.
1:08:08 The white faced woman grew a mouth and used it to ask Isabel how to find Manuel. Isabel is simply a secretary for ghosts. I suppose this is what is meant by phantom jobs.
1:12:24 The homeless man from the underground station recognizes Isabel, but after helping him with his spilled fruit, she ignores him like a normal homeless man.
Isabel [to Elisa]: You know what? Since I was a little girl, I always loved the name Elisa. And I told all of my friends to call me that.
Like my rating, this will be important at the end of the film.
1:16:08 Isabel kidnaps Elisa and brings her to her parents’ house. Whenever I try something like this, the police always question my motive.
1:19:23 The woman in the red dress stalks Isabel when she tries to take Elisa home. Like any passer-by, the ghost woman doesn’t get involved.
1:21:02 The police department is going to kill the investigation into Joey’s death because he raped people and the Lieutenant doesn’t want to give the department a bad name. Like ‘Keanu’.
1:23:04 Black shoots Rocky in the gut because he’s still mad about the unwanted police attention. Not many people would shoot someone in the stomach to keep a low profile.
1:23:52 While Black is lighting Rocky’s last cigarette, Rocky shivs Black in the stomach a lot. Thus, Rocky is a stabbing pain and Black has one.
I told you to make sure you do a good job.
This line Rocky gives is a reference to an earlier discussion [at 1:06:03] in the butcher shop where Black went to buy pig butt (an English speciality, look at any English person from behind if you don’t believe me) when the following exchange took place:
Black: I need you to go to the police and tell them what happened between you and that little faggot cop, Cullen. Because you see right now, they thinking that I’m the one that killed him. And you and me both know that that ain’t what happened.
Rocky: If you came here to kill me, right? You better make sure you do a good job, homie. And that’s the only thing I’ma tell you.
WTF!? Where does Rocky get ‘you came here to kill me’ from ‘I want you to go to the cops’? Rocky best be careful of that gun he’s jumping.
Isabel’s father (Nelson Landrieu as Luca): I would never hurt you, Isabel… Never again… I would kill myself first.
If her father hurt her as a little girl, it would explain why Isabel treats her parents like Muslims at a Britain First rally.
1:26:42 Elisa comes out of the bedroom whining about ‘the man’, so Isabel grabs hold of a large knife and flashes back to the underground entrance where Manuel gives her a knife to protect herself. Then, in a tunnel straight out of Irreversible, we see what really happened: while Isabel stood on the platform right between the eyes of the poster, Joey grabbed her from behind. She lost her heel and wedding ring in the struggle and ensuing rape (and this is a 2-minute scene that goes on two minutes too long). When he’s done with her, she stabs him in the back and pushes him onto the subway tracks.
1:29:50 Joey is feeling run down. By the subway train.
1:30:02 Back in the reality of her parents’ flat, her father is walking out of the room where Elisa was, so Isabel stabs him in the stomach. If he is a paedophile, her aim was a little too high.
1:30:34 Mum flips out when she returns from the shop and finds her husband dead. Maybe she’s upset because she bought too much food.
1:30:57 The ghost reappears wearing black but Isabel doesn’t care. #Hispanicisthenewblack
1:31:48 Scott is in the flat, consoling the mother and ignoring Isabel. Scott finds a photo in the flat of Isabel as a little girl with her father…who are Elisa and the Hispanic cowboy. So Elisa and Isabel are one and the same person. This means Elisa is a figment of Isabel’s imagination, brought forth to cope with the trauma of the rape and the memories of incest that Isabel suppressed…but are now Exposed.
1:31:57 Isabel is sitting alone in the chair in real life, not clutching Elisa like she is in her mind. #mental
1:32:34 A voice repeats the 1:14:34 speech in voice-off for those viewers less perceptive than I.
1:35:52 Produced by Keanu Reeves. Hmm, that’s interesting, he produces as well as he acts.
1:40:46 A very beautiful blues song, which I think is called “Lonely Soul”, by M.Eye and the International P. I can only think this is the song because it can’t be found anywhere on the Internet. If the bass drops on a disk and isn’t on the ‘Net, does it really exist?
As for the synopsis: A crooked detective called Joey Cullen sexually assaults a young Hispanic woman (Isabel) in a tube station. Immediately afterwards, she stabs him and pushes his body on the tracks, but then suppresses her memory of this. In place of those memories, she’s visited by spirits for the length of the film. Her boyfriend subsequently dies in Iraq, but she falls pregnant because of the rape. Detective Scott Galban investigates Jonathan ‘Black’ Jones as the lead suspect in Cullen’s murder and, as Black doesn’t want to return to prison, he kills anyone he perceives as having implicated him in the officer’s death. At the end of the film, Detective Galban investigates the murder of an elderly Hispanic man. He was killed by his adult daughter, Isabel (the rape victim), because he abused her when she was younger. Her attack ‘exposed’ this memory and so she acted on it by stabbing her father.
As for the symbolism:
- The Angels represent victims’ attitudes and protection. The first figure (in white/innocence) has no mouth, as victims don’t talk about their abuse. The next appearances are by figures in red who (according to the producer) represent strength, leadership, courage, rage, anger, danger, malice, wrath, stress, and action. The final woman appears in black after Isabel has killed her father, symbolizing the death of her father but, more importantly, the end of her trauma.
What’s even more surprising is…the female Angels are Detective Galban (Keanu Reeves)! Whenever Isabel interacts with Detective Galban (for example, in front of the toy store when they both go to buy the plush horse, or at the end of the film at the crime scene in her parents’ flat), she sees an Angel.
- The eye images represent Isabel’s eyes. She is the ‘beholder’ mentioned in the slogan [#beautyforthebeholder] and we will be seeing beautiful things through her eyes.
- Elisa is the personification of Isabel as a little girl. In the middle of the film, Isabel ‘adopts’ Elisa to take care of her, but only after first delivering the child to the strange man in the cowboy hat. At the end of the film, we see a photograph of Isabel as a child with her father, and the image is of Elisa and the man in the cowboy hat. Thus Elisa is a figment of Isabel’s imagination, like the eerie figures, and the man in the hat was her father when he was younger and abusing her.
- The horse/unicorn plush toy represents innocence, especially that of a child. The first time the horse is mentioned is when Elisa, in Isabel’s day care centre, complains about losing her toy horse. Because Elisa is Isabel herself as a child, the loss of the horse symbolizes Isabel losing her innocence when her father abused her. After that, Detective Galban sees a little boy playing with a similar horse and asks where he can buy one for his son because his son lost his innocence when his mother died and Galban wants to restore it. Finally, at Cullen’s wake, a little girl is seen playing happily with a plush horse in front of the house, illustrating she has not been abused and is still holding on to her innocence.
- Lucky the pit-bull represents José de la Cruz, Isabel’s husband and Manuel’s brother (Manuel is seen playing with the dog and even has the dog tattooed on his neck). Lucky breaks the lead he’s on and is killed in the street in the scene immediately preceding the one in which the family learns of José’s death just before his release.
- WTF!?’s: Only 3 clearly evident ones
- When to Follow: Only if you love Keanu enough to forgive him
- Where’s This Found: Lionsgate Premiere Studio had the terrible idea of over-editing what was to be a poetic film using haunting images (à la Pan’s Labyrinth) highlighting the plight of women. Not only this, they decided to make the cuts to change the movie into a confusing snooze-fest detective story focusing on the Kristen Stewart of actors: Keanu Reeves. They should be ashamed of themselves, as should I for watching the whole thing. Out of a possible 10, I have 3 F’s to give
- What To Feedback: It’s no secret that I loathe Keanu Reeves as an actor. On this website, I pan every film he’s been in. Am I being too hard on Keanu Reeves?
Update: I have added three answers to the poll because they were added as ‘Other’ by readers. They are 1. “He’s rich your not,hater.” 2. He has his moments and 3. He’s a good actor in bad films. Thanks for participating!
Left Over WTF (Way Too Funny) Photos