Tuesday, December 09, 2014
WINTER OF DISCONTENT: Exponerad
I’d had it on good authority that Gustav Wiklund’s ‘Exponerad’ (a.k.a. ‘Exposed’) was the ne plus ultra of Swedish erotica, though – looking back – no other reason was offered than the presence of Christina “is that a bazooka in your pocket or do you just have a functional libido” Lindberg.
Nor, to be perfectly honest, have I undertaken a rigorous enough study of Swedish erotica to offer an educated opinion*. So, for the purposes of this evening’s review, let’s assume that ‘Exponerad’ (a.k.a. ‘The Depraved’) is indeed the high point of the genre – the Beethoven’s 9th of the top shelf, the ‘Ring Das Niebelungen’ of the dirty mac brigade – and see how it measures up to its fearsomely priapic reputation.
In doing so – in fact, in discussing ‘Exponerad’ (a.k.a. ‘Diary of a Rape’) in any remotely worthwhile detail – it’s necessary that I hoist the jolly SPOILER ALERT.
You see, there’s two levels on which to read ‘Exponerad’ (that’s “read” as in “watch”, by the way; and that’s “watch” as in “feel ashamed of yourself”):
1. As a rites-of-passage genre in which an impressionable 17-year-old gets passed from dippy boyfriend to free-spirited couple to Svengali-esque manipulator who hosts sex parties, blackmails our heroine with nude photos and generally acts like a right nasty bastard who, once he’s got his claws into her, won’t let go …
… which is to say, for much of its running time, ‘Exponerad’ (I’m all out of alternative titles, by the way) is kind of like what ‘Lolita’ would have been if it had been written by a particularly filthy-minded Swede, the titular heroine was four years older, and Humbert Humbert was devoid of all his wit and wordplay and wore crap turtleneck sweaters;
2. As the incredibly boring story of a moony 17-year-old who, left alone while her parents go off on a long weekend, constructs an elaborate fantasy life in order to stave off the dullness. Albeit an elaborate fantasy life which involves being sexually objectified, blackmailed, pawed over by a total gimp of a boyfriend (Bjorn Adelly) and even-worsed-over by a stalker-ish older man (Heinz Hopf). Which, I’ve got to say, is nowhere near the sort of fantasy I’d construct if I had a few days to kill and nothing better to do with them. Actually I’d spend them surfing the net for downloads of these kind of movies and writing about them for the blog.
Subject of which, back to business. ‘Exponerad’ (a.k.a. ‘Fuck You, Dude Who Recommended This POS’) starts with Lena (Lindberg) arguing with the BF; he slaps her and she walks off sullenly. Walks to the outskirts of town where she hitches a lift from a middle-aged businessman who forces himself on her … then drops her off a few minutes later with a cheery smile. Each of these incidents is accompanied by a wash of faded white light across the screen (how can white be faded, you ask? it was a crappy print) at which point it occurred to me – I’d like to say suddenly, but actually I saw it coming like an ocean liner on a duck pond – that they existed purely in Lena’s imagination.
As the film went on, there was a lot more faded light washing across the screen.
While there are some films that play their ultimate “it was all in the protagonist’s head” card to devastating effect (entries on Fincher and Scorsese’s filmographies spring to mind) and leave the audience reeling, ‘Exponerad’ – which could have been a suitably sleazy study of a nymphet finding herself in above her head; ‘Exponerad’, which could have built towards a tense, nasty woman-in-peril finale; ‘Exponerad’, which could have been the jewel in the crown of its starlet’s limited CV – not only benefits in no discernible way from using this device but is actually a weaker film for it.
So, yeah. ‘Exponerad’. SPOILERS END. Ditto this review. With one caveat: to he who made the recommendation – there’s a bus leaving town in an hour; be under it.
*Expressions of disbelief and outright sarcasm may be logged in the comments section. That's what it's there for.