HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Boss Level
My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To
Edge of the World
PTU
Superdeep
Insignificance
Treasure City
Piccadilly
Parallel
Invasión
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Agony
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Lemebel
Hands of Orlac, The
Cats
Death has Blue Eyes
Caveat
Kala Azar
Duplicate
Flashback
Gunda
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Vanquish
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
Homewrecker
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Initiation
Redoubt
Dinner in America
Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes
   
 
Newest Articles
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
   
 
  Exposed It Girl
Year: 1983
Director: James Toback
Stars: Nastassja Kinski, Rudolf Nureyev, Harvey Keitel, Ian McShane, Bibi Andersson, Ron Randell, Pierre Clementi, Dov Gottesfeld, James Russo, Marion Varella, Murray Moston
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: A bomb explodes in a Parisian restaurant killing dozens including women and children. Meanwhile in the United States, Wisconsin farm girl Elizabeth Carlsen (Nastassja Kinski) leaves behind her stifling family, college and overbearing English professor lover for a new life in New York City. Struggling with a demeaning waitress job amidst the crime-ridden urban hell-hole, Elizabeth’s fortune takes an upswing when a fast-talking fashion photographer (Ian McShane) launches her on a modelling career. Elizabeth soon takes the fashion world by storm as the latest in-demand cover girl, but attracts the intention of enigmatic man of mystery, Daniel Jelline (Rudolf Nureyev). Falling under his spell, she discovers Daniel intends to use her as part of his plan to kill terrorist leader Rivas (Harvey Keitel), who uses beautiful women to plant his bombs and has his eye on Elizabeth.

Back when Nastassja Kinski was far and away the most sought after actress in the world she had an admirable tendency to pursue offbeat, challenging film projects rather than go the easy route and trade on her great beauty. Sometimes such choices paid off, as with Paris, Texas (1985) but sadly more often unwieldy, overambitious films like The Moon in the Gutter (1983), Harem (1984) and One from the Heart (1982) crashed and burned much like Icarus flying too close to the sun. And if you thought that was too pretentious a metaphor then take a gander at writer-director James Toback’s Exposed, a film that to this day divides critics between those that think it is a masterpiece (notably Roger Ebert) or pretentious tosh.

Toback himself essays the role of Elizabeth’s spurned academic lover and outlines the film’s central philosophy by declaring that the western world has broken down on every conceivable level, while art and romantic love are the only means of escape. Even thirty years ago such ideas seemed hopelessly archaic, but while it remains unclear whether Toback set out to satirise or simply explore this concept the film remains bold and challenging, albeit in an occasionally, irksomely self-important way. Exposed has the demeanour of the sardonic student pseudo-intellectual who reckons they have all the answers, yet emerging at the height of Eighties play-it-safe/high concept/three act structure filmmaking, its unpredictable narrative and intellectual ambition remain admirable. The combination of self-amused post-modern trickery, political rhetoric, abundant literary and cinematic references and conflicted attitude toward its central female protagonist deliberately evoke the early work of Jean-Luc Godard. Perhaps Toback, who at the time was feted as an American auteur in the wake of the acclaimed Fingers (1978), felt resurgent Reaganite values required the sort of satirical response Godard might have made and decided to have a go himself.

In the Eighties image was everything while meaning was often secondary at best. The film is in part a meditation on Kinski’s own image at that time as a global It-girl, including a line of dialogue where Elizabeth is described as combining the mystery of Greta Garbo, the wit of Carole Lombard and the eroticism of Marilyn Monroe, that was once applied to the actress herself. It rehashes an idea popular among Sixties radicals of terrorism hijacking art as a means of injecting meaning back into images corrupted by capitalism. Hence, the film has Daniel and Rivas alternately attempting to refashion Elizabeth into some kind of liberating angel of sociopolitical upheaval. At least that seems to be the idea. Frankly, the film is none too clear on this and in its latter half loses sight of exactly what message it is trying to convey. Where it falters badly is in conjuring some naive, almost fairytale like evocation of a terrorist cell, ignoring the realities of terrorism. Rivas’ use of various angels of death is like something out of a Derek Flint movie cloaked in the banalities of pseudo-realism, while his political beliefs and Daniel’s revenge plan are ill-defined.

Amidst a truly eclectic cast that includes Bibi Andersson as Elizabeth’s mother and Pierre Clementi as a turncoat terrorist, Nastassja Kinski commands the screen with a performance that transcends whatever merits the film has on its own and remains among the best she ever gave. Toback draws Elizabeth as incredibly shrewd and insightful in some instances (she pegs Rivas for the posturing pseudo-intellectual he is, right off the bat) yet at other times hopelessly naive. Yet rather than coming across as inconsistent this proves a compelling human characterisation. She is drawn into these dangerous situations more by her own intellectual restlessness and curiosity than the machinations of those men out to possess her.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2578 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (3)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: