Sunday, August 16, 2009

Exotica (1994) R - 3 Stars

Let me just say if you think you are renting an erotic sexual adventure, you're not. However, the movie does focus largely around an exotic dancers strip club. But for me, the show seems the same as the same dance scenes are shown over and over again. For example Christina's dance scene is exactly the same footage both times they show it. The characters that make up the dance club are pretty much what I would expect behind the scenes at a seedy strip club and they're all loosely connect in an odd manner. It ends rather strangely to me and really never finishes the story fully, perhaps that's the point of the writer Egoyan, but it left me with more questions than answers.

Exotica, is a strip club in Canada near Toronto. It's owner (Arsinee Khanjian), is pregnant and hangs out behind the scenes mainly while her DJ / Bouncer Eric (Elias Koteas), spins the tunes and narrates the dancers performances. He's still bitter over a broken relationship with the clubs main dancer.

Francis (Bruce Greenwood), is an IRS tax auditor who has a large pain in his heart. His daughter was kidnapped and killed and he tries to go through the same motions as if she still were alive. Picking up the babysitter at regular times and having her play the piano in his home gives him normality to help ease the pain of his lost daughter. He also spends most of his time at the club Erotica watching one particular dancer, Christina (Mia Kirshner), do her school girl impression. Always showing the utmost respect for Christina, he feels the need to protect her from the evil that surrounds the world. He is about to meet a gay pet store owner that he must perform an audit for.

Thomas (Don McKellar), has just returned from a long journey about to go through the airports customs department when one officer behind a two way mirror can tell he is up to no good. But he clears customs and it's not until he gets home that you see what he has smuggled back into the country. Thomas owns and exotic fish and bird store and when he opens his shirt, two large eggs are securely attached to his body. Quickly placing them in an incubator, Thomas leaves his shop and ends up sharing a taxi with the customs official from the airport. He gives Thomas two tickets to the opera in exchange for his share of the ride. Thomas has such a good time sharing his seat with another man, that he keeps going back for more offering his extra seat to willing male participants.

Francis shows up at Thomas's pet store to begin the audit. But instead of concentrating on the task at hand, he finds a gun in Thomas's drawer and asks him to partner with him to kill the DJ from Erotica. It was Eric who convinced Francis to put his hand on Christina's leg knowing he would be evicted and banned from entering the club again. Now Thomas must decide if he wants out of the audit bad enough to help Francis with his quest.

Awards include:

1994 - Exotica - Cannes Film Festival - FIPRESCI Award for Best Film in Competition
1994 - Exotica - Genie Awards - Best Costume Design
1994 - Exotica - Genie Awards - Best Supporting Actor
1994 - Exotica - Genie Awards - Best Picture

Miramax Films
Director: Atom Egoyan
Writer: Atom Egoyan
Producers: Camelia Frieberg, Atom Egoyan
I watched 8/09

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