A creative coup for the endlessly challenging writer/director Atom Egoyan, Exotica is a haunting, beautifully rendered tale of obsession and sexual frustration, following six disparate characters whose lives entwine in the most bizarre of ways. Employing overlapping and reverse chronology (a staple of Egoyan's storytelling), the picture builds slowly until its revelations become apparent, and the end result is a hypnotic and moving chronicle of broken lives and loss. The performances are all affecting and first-rate, and despite its key setting (a strip joint), the film is never obscene or concerned with rubbing the viewer's face in excess. Egoyan's tale has more on its mind, and its uncanny ability to get inside the heads of its initially opaque characters is enough to leave one shaken. A breakthrough effort for Egoyan, Exotica was his first art-house success in the U.S. after several previous releases. Exotica also won a Genie Award for Best Film from the director's native Canada during the year of its release.