“In telling the story of Exotica, I wanted to structure the film like a striptease, gradually revealing an emotionally loaded history. The characters in the film move through a series of rituals and routines that define their loneliness and sense of despair. At times these activities may seem perverse or absurd as people transform their pain into self-made myths and legends. It is my belief that human beings find nothing more absorbing than the exoticism of their own experience” (Atom Egoyan).
Deep despair and pain force us to engage ourselves in fantasies where unfulfilled dreams and desires come to life and therefore make the coming to a deadlock even deeper. The atmosphere of a strip club whose patrons are unable to exist in broad daylight and therefore create false, closed worlds so powerful they become addictive.
As we enter we discover that all the people involved have something in common; the DJ wears himself out trying to present each dancer personally with new words and sensual descriptions, the dancers move mechanically in a commonly accepted, almost senseless eroticism that can only come to life in dark rooms, they become caricatures of themselves and the habitués try to fill their emotional voids in vain.
The director has the intelligence to treat his characters with tenderness. They lack human touch and clearly need to exist in a fictitious world with a real wrapping. The striptease of their soul never ends, not even after the end of the film when the viewer will reflect upon what has just been experienced and try to puzzle it out.