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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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A movie about a strip club where people go to vicariously retruamatize themselves to strippers dancing to Leonard Cohen, in other words... Pretty perfect!!!Published 1 month ago by A. Erganbright
I really have to wonder how this Atom Egoyan guy has achieved the amount of fame and popularity he has. Read morePublished 7 months ago by M. Jensen
The problem with trying to keep parts of a story secret that are to be told as the story unfolds is that it is usually only possible to do this through the flashback technique. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Spencer Gorman
I love this movie! heartfelt sad and surprising. The plot twists and turns and brings you to a place you could not have dreamed it would. Read morePublished 19 months ago by anthony rubino
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 morePublished on September 17, 2013 by Artprof67
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 on August 21, 2013 by Robert BJ Hill
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