347) Exotica (1994) Dir: Atom Egoyan Date Released: March 1995 Date Seen: October 17, 2009 Rating: 3.5/5
Exotica is the first of Atom Egoyan's most highly regarded films I've seen and thus far, the most frigid. While I was consistently engaged because of its deviousness, the fact that Egoyan deals with the "other"ing of characters at so many removes from an identifiable perspective and deprives the viewer of a standard of "normalcy" to refer to is often, y'know, frustrating. Case in point: Thomas Pinto (Don McKellar) gets off on the ritual of brining men to the ballet but why the ballet, what about the spectacle he's attending that attracts him, is never even hinted at. Nevertheless, the film's density, or to put it more finely, the way that Egoyan exoticizes the mundane and vice versa, is often fascinating. In the Club Exotica, being possessive of someone necessarily makes you fantasize about familiarizing yourself with them. Both Francis (Bruce Greenwood)--"How could they ever take you away from me?"--and Eric (Elias Koteas)-- "What is it about a girl that gives her that special innocence, gentlemen? Such a thing you have absolutely no control over?"--radiate festering pain. But a man can't subsist on bruised egos alone.