Francis, whose daughter was murdered a few years ago, is always watching Christina dance in the night club Exotica. One night he is dared to touch the girl and ends up being thrown out. He then sends in Thomas to try and find explanations.
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This psychological thriller is true to its subjects as well as being complex, dynamic, and overly dramatic. How something so long ago, seemingly trivial, years later with more significant trauma, turns repressed emotions into a dysfunctional life and distorted thinking. This is all merged into a psychological menagerie that unfolds piece by piece to perfection. Written by
The cuts on Francis's face change size & shape throughout the movie after he gets thrown out of Exotica. See more »
He comes in here every other night. He has his favorite drink, and his favourite table, with his favorite dancer. Sometimes he has to wait for her, and sometimes she's waiting for him, to protect him. She's his angel.
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The title of the film "Exotica" comes from a strip club where much of the action either takes place or originates from, where dancer Christina (Mia Kirshner) captivates two men, club DJ Eric (Elias Koteas) and accountant Francis (Bruce Greenwood) for different reasons. Also added into the mix is Thomas, (Don McKellar) an exotic animal store owner who becomes involved when Francis is performing an audit on his books and discovers transgressions there, essentially blackmailing him into helping him get to Christina.
Even if I were to provide enough information about the film without concern about spoilers, it would be hard to describe the plot of the film. "Exotica", while centering on a strip club, is mostly about relationships, (all unhealthy to very great extents) and the evolution of one's character and personality. The film is told in a non-linear style, which is usually very refreshing, but I found that while I was willing to endure the very slow pacing for a great denouement, particularly because I felt like I was being set up for one, I didn't get one. These problems with the film are in direct contrast with the beautiful and stylish cinematography and the fairly rich character development. Things as subtle as Victor Garber's (who played Greenwood's brother in a small but important role) "Black Power" t-shirts were, upon reflection, a great touch. And the performances of the main players were decent, though I will admit that I got a little tired of Mia Kirshner after awhile.
Unfortunately, the negatives and positives of "Exotica" offset one another, and therefore left me pretty tepid. It can be recommended to anyone who likes independent cinema, but beyond that, I can't imagine it being tolerated by a mainstream audience. Perhaps it deserves a second viewing, to appreciate it further, but I give it a 5/10.
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