I had been wanting to see this for the longest time, and I finally managed to find a copy. My second voyage with an Atom Egoyan film, and I must say I like what I see, and I will certainly be seeking more of his films out. Exotica is not an easy film to describe (featured in Episode 27 of Super Podcast), so I will try my best to give it a shot and give you a basic idea of what this is about. Exotica is the name of a night club (strip club), where the DJ Eric (Elias Koteas) watches/obsesses over his ex-girlfriend Christina (Mia Kirshner), who dances in a school girl costume, for Francis (Bruce Greenwood), who then in turn is auditing a Pet Store owner Thomas (Don McKellar) which takes some interesting turns.
Basically these are the four main characters, Eric, Christina, Francis and Thomas. They are all entwined some how and as the film progresses you see that. Each character has their secrets and demons, which is slowly revealed as well. You are thrown into things, and you just sit back and watch as things unfold, and put the pieces together. Egoyan is an interesting film maker, the story itself in the end is actually quite sad and his use of sets and colours really set the mood, the sound track as well is excellent.
Performance wise, everyone is spot on, I really felt they understood their characters and it shows in their performances. Elias Koteas is an actor that can do no wrong, no matter what he is in, he always delivers. He is a charismatic actor, and here as Eric everything is just perfect. You can really feel that jealousy he feels, his wanting and needing Christina. In turn Mia Kirshner looks gorgeous and she is mysterious as Christina, you can feel a strange bond between her and Francis, you know there is something there but you can’t quite place it. Bruce Geenwood has a tough role to play, you know he is suffering something harsh and you can feel that in the scenes at the Exotica. He suspects Thomas, but he some how feels sympathy for him as well. Don McKellar plays Thomas as awkward as they come, he does strange things and it feels like he is a man that isn’t happy with himself. Just the way he portrays him, you really get to feel for the character. In other hands, I don’t think we’d feel much of anything for these characters and I think it wouldn’t have left a lasting impression.
Exotica is a haunting and strange film, unlike anything I have seen before, it is strange and it draws you in. This isn’t a fast film, it is a slow burn film, which slowly reveals itself. You are given some pieces and you can sort the puzzle out for yourself. I like films which do not hand feed you everything, and they make you think. This certainly does that, and it sure stayed with me after I watched it. This is something I do want to watch again, I am sure I will get even more out of it. This is a film I would recommend, a lesser known and seen film, certainly worthy of attention.