Atom Egoyan never scruples to mystify, disconcert and even offend his audience and Exotica might well do all that and more. Following Egoyan's typically idiosyncratic take on the world of `adult' movies, it's largely set in the strip-joint of the title and toys disturbingly with images of paedophilia. Connected with the club are an ill-assorted network of characters: the club's owner, pregnant by the sleazy MC, a tax auditor who haunts the establishment to slake his obsession with one of the lap-dancers, a gay pet-shop owner with an undercover line in smuggling exotic eggs whom the taxman is auditing, and the auditor's teenage niece who still babysits for him even though his daughter was murdered two years ago. Despite its erotic imagery it's hard to imagine anyone getting off on Exotica. The prevailing mood is one of need and emotional dislocation and the film might well risk being depressing were it not put together with such style and tantalising skill.


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