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From the Vault: Exotica (1994)

March 24, 2010

Mia Kirshner

Exotica is a mid 90s film written and directed Atom Egoyan, which stars Mia Kirshner (The L-Word), Bruce Greenwald (Star Trek 09), Elias Koteas (Gattaca) and Arsinée Khanjian (The Sweet Hereafter, married to Egoyan).

It’s hard to describe this film, so I urge you to watch it and judge for yourself. It centers around a handful of characters and seemingly random events, but as the story unfolds – in nonlinear fashion – the connections are made apparent and often with complicated and tragic results. While most of the action takes place in the Toronto strip club called EXOTICA, it’s not a movie about exotic dancing industry anymore than say – Flashdance. EXOTICA is a character study and if that sort of film frustrates you, this is not going to be your bag of candy. That said, I still say give it a chance. I walked into the Sunset 5 thinking I was about to see EROTIQUE – an entirely different film – and came away from the film a HUGE Egoyan fan.

I’ll be the first to admit, Egoyan, director of such films as The Sweet Hereafter (based on the Russell Bank novel) and Where the Truth Lies (written by Mr. Pina Coloda himself!) is an acquired taste. His films move slowly with painstaking precision and often with uncomfortable resolutions. Nevertheless, EXOTICA is one of his most accessible films.

The soundtrack was composed by Mycheal Danna whose credits include: LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE and THE SWEET HEREAFTER – all stellar works! The music here is fantastic and also includes “Everybody Knows” by Leonard Cohen.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2010 9:21 pm

    She was actually quite good in this.

  2. Kisha permalink
    March 24, 2010 10:26 pm

    I’ve seen this three or four times because it’s one of my guy’s favorites. I’m still a little surprised that there are so few people I know who have seen it.

    It has Duncan from Some Kind of Wonderful in it. That alone equals joy.

  3. dan permalink
    April 24, 2010 11:53 am

    Atom Egoyan is awesome. I always just see his movies as being like a well-written novel instead of the usual format of movies. However, you’re right that he’s an acquired taste. I used to work at a movie rental place and lots of people would roll their eyes at his stuff ;) I’ll have to check out Exotica, I’ve only seen his newer stuff like Felicia’s Journey, Ararat, and Adoration..

  4. hsofia permalink
    August 15, 2010 2:53 pm

    It’s a dark little weird movie that I loved. I only saw it the first time because it had Sarah Polley (my favorite actress). But her part is so small! I’m a Koteas fan, as well. Danna is a good composer – my favorite of his scores is the one he did for Ride with the Devil, which sounds totally unlike his most popular works.

  5. August 15, 2010 4:11 pm

    Elias Koteas is the best!! Someone once said I reminded them a little of his him, and I think that is totally factually incorrect but I was completely flattered and accepted it.

  6. hsofia permalink
    August 15, 2010 8:39 pm

    If I were in touch with my shadow side (maybe in a few years I’ll start working on that), that shadow side would totally be stalking Elias Koteas. Everytime he shows up in anything, I’m all OOOOOOH. He was incredible in The Thin Red Line and in general is a reliable scene-stealer. I think he must be perceived as ugly or something in Hollywood because they love to cast him as a creep.

  7. August 15, 2010 11:08 pm

    that’s partly why I love The Adjuster, because he gets to be the sexy weird leading man.

  8. August 16, 2010 9:05 am

    Elias Koteas is delish. Wasn’t he Duncan in Some kind of Wonderful? I find him incredibly engaging, more so than his knockoff – Christopher Meloni.

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