Exotica ★★★½

“Was your father this hairy?”
“No i got that from my mother”

Goddamn this is a weird ass movie, and not even necessarily in terms of subject matter. Some of the acting is kinda poor with some really stilted dialogue yet that only adds to the film’s bizarre tone, almost working in its favour. Some of the shots are beautiful enough to seem out of place in what otherwise seems to be a low budget affair such as the shot of the hill with the sudden emerging bodies walking towards the screen or the establishing shots of seedy yet colourful urban environments. There’s a lot of green in this film, which I would suggest could link to its central preoccupations of envy, naivety and innocence.

Visually it feels like a film that could only have been made in this specific time period. In fact, I would say the tone of the film is early Lynchian (I think it would be safe to say there is a definite directorial influence), in particular reminiscent of Twin Peaks or Blue Velvet, albeit a little less abstract, and as if that tone were combined with some obscure TV movie. The world of the film explores a motel apartment, a pet shop and of course the titular strip club Exotica and in all of these places the colourful use of imagery is a facade of the darkness and banality underneath as is the case for early Lynch.

Exotica is a film with multiple plot points threatening to converge at any moment and succeeds in subduing the information of what is really going on until a good point of the way in where it is arguable how satisfying the payoff for the ‘mystery’ is. Overall an enjoyable, if uncanny and unnerving, film that pays homage to similar Lynchian efforts yet still maintains a certain uniqueness as well as being abstract enough in its ending in order to generate a multitude of interpretations. It has some good lines of dialogue and funny moments even if their delivery is sometimes questionable.

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