Declan Dale does not exist. Declan Dale is a pseudonym for the director who abandoned this film after Lionsgate Premiere edited what was meant to be a bilingual, surrealist drama (sounds promising so far) into a generic detective thriller (cue unenthused sigh). Keanu Reeves and Ana de Armas lead the action in this confused picture. The pair worked together last year on Knock Knock, an erotic horror. I imagine that the original director wanted to work with that supposed on-screen ‘chemistry’ in Exposed. Unfortunately though, we will never know because, in the final edit, the stars share only one scene and no dialogue.
The film simultaneously follows Detective Galban (Reeves) in the hunt for his partner’s killer and the supernatural events that Isabel (de Armas) continues to witness. Yes, the plot is as bewildering as it sounds. Characters come and go, with minimal development and almost no explanation as to their relationship with each other. It is so obvious that the on-screen action is not what the narrative was intended to be. For about half an hour in the middle of the film, things happen that don’t seem to go anywhere or to have any relation to anything earlier in the story. Nonetheless, Lionsgate attempt to tie it up at the end, but for me this only raised more questions than it answered.
On top of this, the film reeks of worn out stereotypes. The white guys are the cops, the black guys are the suspects, and the Hispanics are, obviously, religious kooks. Perhaps it is a good thing Declan Dale doesn’t exist because he would have a lot to answer for in using such clichéd characters in 2016. Come on Hollywood, we want to be challenged, not insulted. These shallow archetypes are as disheartening as all the #newyearnewme selfies at the gym.
Don’t get me wrong, if it’s a throw-away police drama you’re looking for then this is the stuff. However, I couldn‘t see past the potential of what this film could have been if the original, surreal-thriller route had been pursued.
Image courtesy of Lionsgate Premiere