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Exotica (1995)

Bruce Greenwood , Elias Koteas , Atom Egoyan  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)

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Exotica + The Sweet Hereafter + Felicia's Journey
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Product Details

  • Actors: Bruce Greenwood, Elias Koteas, Don McKellar, David Hemblen, Calvin Green
  • Directors: Atom Egoyan
  • Writers: Atom Egoyan
  • Producers: Atom Egoyan, Camelia Frieberg, David J. Webb, Robert Lantos
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Miramax
  • DVD Release Date: November 16, 1999
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305428107
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,082 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Exotica" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Forbidden desires and dangerous intrigue generate sizzling heat in this erotic thriller! At a sexy strip club called Exotica, three strangers -- an obsessive man, an erotic table dancer, and the club's mysterious D.J. -- share much more than is apparent at first glance! As their secret passions grow, they become more deeply entangled in an inescapable web of jealousy, deceit, and revenge! The powerfully seductive hit EXOTICA is gripping entertainment -- you won't be able to take your eyes off it!

In spite of its atrociously misleading packaging, Exotica is a beguiling mystery by enigmatic Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, in which people and their relationships are not what they seem. What at first appear to be disparate stories of a tormented tax auditor, a lonely pet-shop owner, and a sensitive stripper and her coworkers gradually merge to reveal a larger, interconnected portrait. The sequences involving Mia Kirshner's schoolgirl stripper are particularly engrossing because of her character's intelligence and the scenes' deeper subtext. Indeed, Exotica is less about stripping than about fragile human relationships, and it is not until the truly revelatory final scene that we are able to fully absorb the film's deeper meaning. --Bryan Reesman

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Multi-layered, haunting piece of film mastery. March 31, 2001
While Canadian writer-director Atom Egoyan may be best known for his sweeping, 1997 adaptation of Russel Banks' novel The Sweet Hereafter (for which he was nominated for a best directing Oscar), Exotica vastly surpasses Hereafter in its deeply layered secrets and complexity. "You have to convince yourself that this person has something hidden, that you have to find yourself," states a character at the beginning of the film. Each of these characters--the DJ of Club Exotica (Elias Koteas), the pregnant owner of the club (Egoyan's wife Arsinee Khanjian), the mysterious, school girl dancer (Mia Kirshner), her most frequent customer (Bruce Greenwood), and the lonely owner of an exotic pet store (Don McKellar)--has something hidden, deep within the interactions between each other and the non-linear storytelling of Exotica, which multiple viewings enhance to even greater detail.
After winning many Genie Awards (the Canadian equivelant of the American Oscar) including best director and picture, as well as being hailed as a "Miramax Classic" on the box, one would think that the DVD would be filled with lots of added bonuses, and at the very least: a theatrical trailer. Alas, the Exotica DVD boasts no special features, if you don't count the gorgeous widescreen transfer, much to my own dismay.
Since many critics praised the film when it was released in 1994, especially Roger Ebert, there is hope that a new DVD will be created. The Criterion Collection includes numerous foreign, avant-garde, cultish films on DVD, most all of them boasting quite a few, excellent special features (especially the sadly-out-of-print Sid & Nancy DVD; but not for the feature-less Night Porter disc). One would hope, with the support of a few major critics and strong following, that Mirimax (or Criterion) would release a new version of this DVD, featuring all the added features, commentaries, bios that the film rightfully deserves.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Egoyan Winner September 23, 2003
I like movies that reveal their mysteries gradually. Films like Mullholland Drive, Memento, Following, etc. Like a good postmodern novel (no that's not an oxymoron - there are a few [Paul Auster comes immediately to mind]) these films are non-linear and one is kept guessing about not only what will happen, but whethere central characters are crazy, evil, benign, etc. The audience is kept intentionally in the dark, and thus on edge, and sometimes (as is the case with Mullholland Drive) there is no clear resolution, no tidying things up at the end. Egoyan seems to be operating in similar territory.
Another characterstic that these directors share is that often their characters are not what one would call likeable. This is the case in Exotica. A Canadian Customs Inspector (David Hemblen) is assigned to audit the books of a nervous Toronto exotic pet shop owner. From the outset, we see that this is not going to be your typical CPA/customer relationship. Things get more intriguing when the inspector finds a pistol in the pet-shop owner's drawer and reacts enigmatically.
As the film progresses, the inspector's psyche gradually disintegrates, until finally there is a denouement of denouements at the end of the film. Finally, Egoyan lets the audience in on the source of the inspector's descent into emotional breakdown. No spoilers here, but suffice it to say that the ending provides resolution, without relying on clichés.
Another satisfying Egoyan film. Thoughful script. Uniformly excellent acting, cinematography, direction. Worth re-viewing.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Help For the Viewer? May 30, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
CAUTION-SPOILERS AHEAD-EXOTICA has been overwhelmingly praised by the critics. I think the Tomatometer is at 95% favorable. Here is my take on EXOTICA-maybe it will help some viewers to appreciate this fine film.

The film is very much a paradox, sensual but sterile, intense but distant, hollow but haunting. It is a complex story with a relatively simple theme. The characters include Francis (Bruce Greenwood) as a Canadian government revenue auditor who is auditing the financials of an exotic pet store (whose owner Thomas is played by Don McKeller) while trying to exorcise his demons at a strip club called EXOTICA. During his nocturnal visits to the club he pays his niece Tracey (played by Sarah Polley) to baby-sit his seemingly absent daughter. The viewer gets to know the strip club DJ, Eric (Elias Koteas); a stripper, Christina (Mia Kirshner) who dances for Francis and happens to be Eric's ex-girlfriend; and the very pregnant (by Eric) club owner Zoe (Arsinee Khanjian) who is having an affair with Christina.

The plot is an example of elliptical storytelling in that it moves in a purposeful ever-circling way to slowly reveal the connections between the worlds of each character. There is enough misdirection to keep the viewer wary of their perceptions. They must pay complete attention and remember what they see.

There are significant technical reasons to like this film. It is first and foremost a director's film and Adam Egoyan's directing is amazing. A director is responsible for both casting and for directing their cast. For Exotica Egoyan added to his cast of regulars two of the best young actresses (Kirshner and Polley) in Canada. Kirshner's performance provides an extremely unusual combination of sensuality and thinly masked pain.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great to work with
Published 2 months ago by nick
5.0 out of 5 stars The master of the non-linear story
Atom Egoyan directs this film, and he is the master of the non-linear story. (case in point 'The Sweet Hereafter') Often you KNOW what you're going to see, you KNOW what's going to... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Artprof67
4.0 out of 5 stars another director's good film
This movie is a mystery tale so if you are expecting nudity and other things try something else. It is a good story and you have to watch the whole move to get it.
Published 14 months ago by Robert BJ Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars a movie with a great plot
I could write this long review but others have done it for me. All I can tell you is relax and let the movie take you. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Richard E. Hlina
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie could never have been made in the U.S.A.
I first saw Exotica soon after its release on DVD in 1995. "Exotica" is the name of a fancy strip club where the characters interact. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Good movie
This movie, though it revolves around an adult club, tells multiple tales that intertwine in time and inter-connectivity. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Shiidon Hawley
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 star movie, 1 star for old DVD transfer - get the Blu-Ray
I've been a fan of Egoyan's films for years, and this is my favorite. It's a slow-burner. The movie, equally seductive and mournful, is a mysterious psycho-drama centered around... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Joel Bergstrom
2.0 out of 5 stars Dumb movie, weird plot
A very dumb movie with a very weird plot. Didn't find any redeeming features in it. Forget about it now.
Published 22 months ago by Spacey Tracey
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing - a masterpiece
I cannot praise this film enough. Once I heard Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows" I was enraptured. The dance that followed was mesmerizing. Read more
Published on August 29, 2012 by Ada Ardor
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't play on UK DVD player
I know this is an interesting film because I saw it when it first released, however unfortunately it will not play on my UK DVD system.
Published on March 11, 2012 by Savvy
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