Drama / Mystery / Romance

Exotica (1994) download yts


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Mia Kirshner as Christina
Elias Koteas as Eric
Victor Garber as Harold
Sarah Polley as Tracey
720p 1080p
782.77 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 43 min
P/S Unknown
1.59 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 43 min
P/S Unknown

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by David H. Schleicher 9 / 10

Amazingly beautiful, haunting film

Don't be fooled by the soft-porn title or the "sexy thriller" style art on the VHS box and DVD cover. This, like Egoyan's follow-up masterpiece "The Sweet Hereafter" is an intricate, elliptical, and tragic look at grief and loss focusing on the people who work at and patronize a Toronto strip club. It's all very literary and symbolic (the exotic creatures of the pet shop being audited by Bruce Greenwood's tax man with a sad secret mirroring the exotic dancers of the club where he finds his solace after hours) and surprisingly emotional (especially at the end). Character development, secrets, and inner truths are revealed slowly and carefully and in non-linear fashion by Egoyan's delicate director's hand. The "exotic" flavored yet haunting musical score is an added bonus. Worth a look if you are in the right mood and know what to expect from Egoyan.

Reviewed by aimless-46 10 / 10

Beautiful, haunting, poetic and truthful.

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. Polley is simply the most subtly expressive actress in film today. They are world class talents who seem to deliberately stay away from mainstream films but have little trouble getting lots of work. Greenwood, McKellar, Koteas, and Khanjian, are likewise excellent. Egoyan kept all six reined-in so that their performances are low-key and restrained. While there were many stylish and beautiful camera shots he mostly keeps the characters at a distance. Exotic décor, busy sets, atmosphere, restrained acting, minimal tight shots, and frequent plot misdirection keeps the viewer from bonding or strongly identifying with the characters. He did not want the viewer getting into the heads of the characters, he wanted us to internalize the theme and to take it into our heads. This way if we pay attention we will learn as much about ourselves as we will about the characters.

The theme is substitution, how the process of living is simply a process of substitution. We grow out of things and find substitutes for them. We lose something precious but we carry on by finding a substitute. We expand our horizons and find substitutes that we did not know about or that we thought unattainable. We need something we can't have so we find something that works as a substitute. Sometimes the substitutes are an improvement on the original, sometimes they are a better match with a new stage of life, sometimes they are an imperfect substitute but the best that we can manage, and sometimes (certainly in this film) they are an addictive trap that keep us from moving on or growing.

Most people's dreams don't come true and they settle for a substitute, often without really noticing. The most compelling scene in `Field of Dreams' is when Burt Lancaster is talking about what it was like to give up his dream of playing major league baseball. He says: `It was like coming this close to your dream and then watching it brush past you like a stranger in a crowd. At the time I didn't think much about it. We just don't recognize the most significant moments in our lives when they happen. Back then I thought: there will be other days, I didn't realize that was the only day'. While his character accepted the end of his dream and substituted a life as the town doctor, in Exotica the substitutes are dysfunctional because there is no acceptance. That is why so many of the substitutions involve payment, a transactional substitution is a temporary event and allows the illusion to stay alive.

Exotica focuses on the substitutes used by its central characters. Francis substitutes Christina for his daughter and Tracey for Christina (when she was his daughter's babysitter). Eric substitutes his club DJ job for the career he wanted in radio, he substitutes his voyeurism in the club for his inability to have a lasting relationship. Zoe substitutes for her dead mother and continues to run the club, instead of a husband she has Eric contractually substitute so that she can have a baby. Thomas substitutes his opera liaisons for a real relationship and substitutes an incubator for the eggs he has taken from a nest. Christina substitutes a protective Francis for her uncaring and probably abusive father. Voyeurism substitutes for interaction.

Eric's voyeurism eventually leads him to the conclusion that the Francis-Christina mutual dependency has gone from a temporary coping mechanism to an addictive trap. He elects to destroy that relationship by convincing Francis to touch Christina. Eric knows that the relationship must end once this occurs, no matter how Christina reacts. Either she will no longer be able to use Francis because he betrayed her trust or Francis will no longer be able to use her because he can no longer maintain his illusion of protecting her purity. Then they will both have to move on and seek new and hopefully more positive substitutes.

Contrary to some who have commented on this film I did not see any real `plot holes'. Almost every detail is eventually explained and if anything Egoyan made the plot a little too predictable. But at least this was balanced by some interesting misdirection-like having Tracey live above a shabby strip mall so you jump to the conclusion that she is a child prostitute and that Francis has a thing for young girls. Certainly on the second viewing it is clear that many clues are provided and that the outcome is being subtly telegraphed throughout the film in a kind of mental striptease.

As already mentioned, the really unique feature of this movie is that the viewer does not really connect with the characters but instead connects with the substitution theme. The audience is given a new perspective from which to think about their own substitutions. Perceptive members of the audience are forced to be more than observers. This is powerful stuff.

Reviewed by Jonathan Glass 10 / 10

A fractured movie about a fractured life

Perhaps Atom Egoyan's most successful film. Egoyan's technique is to fracture a story like a jigsaw puzzle, giving the viewer bits and pieces which only all connect in the final scene. That ripping apart of reality is especially appropriate here, since the movie is about people putting their lives together after terrible trauma. It's also about the danger in leaping to conclusions - the viewer is often tempted to make a judgement about what he or she sees, and that judgement is often both wrong and unfair. If this all sounds like homework, be assured that the movie is also a lot of fun: it's sexy and interesting and inspired.

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