I wrote up Atom Egoyan’s last effort, Adoration. I thought it was a strong return to his previous cinematic achievements like The Sweet Hereafter and Exotica. I neglected to mention the movies that had come in between like Felicia’s Journey, Ararat, and Where the Truth Lies. This omission is because I thought these films were mostly forgettable, or I fell asleep while watching them and was not motivated to return.
I have to confess that I did fall asleep a couple of times while watching Chloe, but I did see it through to its somewhat painful conclusion. Here’s what I know: the family unit depicted in this film consists of Catherine, wife, mother and gynecologist, played by Julianne Moore, David, husband, father and professor, played by Liam Neeson, and their teenage son Michael, played by Max Thieriot. The story opens with everything seeming just fine until some events cause Catherine to experience a surge of suspicion about David’s fidelity. She becomes casually acquainted with Chloe, a high class call girl, played by Amanda Seyfried, the darling of sweet innocent films such as the recent Dear John. Catherine wastes no time in hiring Chloe to flirt with David to “see what would happen.”
And indeed we do see what happens. Amidst some overwrought musical scoring, the story unfolds, replete with some of Egoyan’s typical themes of family dysfunction and forbidden sex. Unfortunately, either the screenplay itself or its execution is confused and uneven, and we never get a riveting film noir experience. Instead, the movie devolves into a kind of cheesy Fatal Attraction wannabe, or perhaps a little soft-core porn. I would not elevate the film to the status of sexual thriller, because I experienced it as just a little silly. Maybe Amanda Seyfried does not yet have the proper chops to pull off her role, or maybe the screenplay, penned by Erin Cressida Wilson, was just a little lame. Chloe was based on a French movie entitled Nathalie, which I haven’t seen yet. I wonder if it’s a better representation of this storyline.
Reasons to see Chloe, though, might include wanting to see all of Atom Egoyan’s work, wanting to see Amanda Seyfried naked, and, as I often tell viewers, maybe you’ll like it more than I did. I did like the plot twist which came towards the end of the film, and which I didn’t really see coming. I do hope that Egoyan’s work will improve again and I can write a more glowing review of his next project. – [DVD] [Blu-Ray]
DVD Release Date: 7/13/10