HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  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 3951 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
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: