Critical opinion was, and is, sharply divided on EXPOSED. Some view Toback's film as a major work while others felt it was a real failure. Nastassja earned some of the best reviews of her career though and I think it is fair to say that EXPOSED is regarded as one of Toback's most interesting, if flawed, works.
Here is a sampling of critical reactions on EXPOSED:
""The odds on favorite for the most idiotic movie of the year...A vulgar-auteurist masterpiece, the film fairly reeks of personal vision: the only problem is that the vision, expressed by an inept style, is literally nonsense...the only exposed is Toback."
-Ed Sikov, Cineaste-
"Kinski is perfectly cast, tempestuous, willful and smouldering beautiful. You can believe her rapid rise as a model and you can believe her impact on Nureyev...You appreciated Toback's wit and intellect, the comprehensiveness and intensity of his passions and overall bravura, but EXPOSED reveals he has yet to project his own world with complete conviction."
-Kevin Thomas, LA Times-
"The best film ever made about a fashion model...the narrative of EXPOSED is the most effective cage of all, and one of its delights is in its sense of control...an extraordinary mix and match operation...In making over his native cinema, Toback has both out-Europeaned the Europeans and found his way back to a powerful narrative root: looking at it in any context, EXPOSED is a powerful achievement."
-Richard Combs, Monthly Film Bulletin-
"Toback has too many pretensions and too little talent to make a straightforward suspense film...Kinski struggle mightily and looks great."
-Robert Asahina, New Leader-
"Mr. Toback seems unaware of how funny he is."
-John Coleman, New Statesman-
"Toback seems unable or unwilling to create scenes of plausible behavior...Toback is genuinely inept and genuinely entertaining...EXPOSED is weightless-a procession of high flown fatalistic attitudes...Toback gets a very likable performance out of Kinski...Kinski has begun to use as an actress the challenging sensual fullness that has been hers since she was a young teenager."
-David Denby, New York-
"For accidental comedy, you can't beat EXPOSED...Kinski may be lovely to look at, but she plays a wayward girl with Jean Seberg delusions like a member of the Mickey Mouse Club."
-Rex Reed, New York Post-
"Toback is a minuscule talent...EXPOSED is an outright fiasco...Kinski acquits herself respectably..."
-Joseph Gelmis, Newsday-
"Not so much a movie as it is a torrential wet dream...Kinski is a throwback to the great sirens in old movies whose exquisite desirability was both burden and a glory..."
-Jack Kroll, Newsweek-
"Astonishingly EXPOSED seems to have been taken seriously....relentlessly ludicrous...Kinski's gamine streak is as fetching as ever...she emerges from the morass remarkably unsullied..."
-J. Hoberman, Village Voice-
"Nastassia Kinski does remarkably well, however, with her American accent as a Midwestern heroine who quits school, comes to New York, makes the big time as a fashion model, and then becomes involved with Rudolf Nureyev's plot to kill Keitel."
-Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader-
"An eccentric thriller meandering an uneasy route between jet-set melodrama - Toback's earlier Fingers won some critical support, and his script here is not without philosophical moments concerning the ambiguities of the 'look' and the 'self'; but Exposed does not entirely have the courage of its frequently heady high art absurdities, despite moments like the one in which Nureyev (cast as a renowned violinist) literally attempts to play Kinski's body like a violin. For this kind of material the temperature must not be allowed to drop, but it frequently does."
"Intelligent and illogical, beautiful and erratic."
" Indeed, the film is first and foremost a study of Nastassja Kinski, here ripely at the zenith of her magazine-cover fame, every head-toss and lip-bite an event devoured by the camera -- in that sense, the film is Toback's true Nouvelle Vague dig, Kinski's ad-libbed studio pas de deux with chair and mirror to "The Shoop Shoop Song" serving to illustrate the movement's dictum of cinema boiling down to boys taking pictures of girls."
-Fernando F. Croce-
"Despite the fact that director James Toback is given sole screenplay credit, the film seems more like a "committee" project. To its credit, Exposed is never dull; with that cast, how could anyone fall asleep?"
Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide-
"Kinski is brilliant, stripping the barrier between performance and audience."