I'm glad I watched it a second time. In between viewings I watched 'The Sweet Hereafter', which gave me more insight into his theme of healing. This is the darker version of that idea. Another thing that struck me was how kind and gentle some of the interactions were. Not used to seeing that. I think it's due to being made in Canada. They really are nicer people.
Atom Egoyan's fascination with the dark parts of lonely people is centered in the location of Exotica. Where sexuality becomes canvas for human longing and lostness. An interesting character study with his particular blend of style. I think I assumed this would have more of a drive to it and so I had to reasses when confronted with the slow search for meaning and comfort in tragedy.
Egoyan achieved the artistic goal of creating a fragmented, moody atmosphere and an Altman-esque character web; I admired the tone and the slowly unfolding revelations. But EXOTICA felt like an empty performance of mystery once it unraveled – one I felt was by turn a little too obvious, a little too unimaginative. The way it builds, it feels like there's going to be something more to the painful truth behind it all.
I went into this film not expecting much. I was just looking for a wacky trip fest B movie with plenty of nudity to watch while I painted my nails. Exotica is a beautiful, poetic dance. From just reading the brief plot summary I couldn't have predicted that I would be so completely moved by this film. The script and visuals still linger in my mind a week later. So happy I found this cinematic gem!
One word is enough to describe "Exotica" with total precision: hypnotic. This seems to be an obvious description, as the whole film is bound to provoke that same feeling, but I have to admit Egoyan's complete success. The dark, dense atomsphere he creates around this strip club and its mysterious frequenters is one of the most immersive ambiances of modern cinema.