Atom Egoyan's latest film, Chloe, is a sexual
fantasy thriller based largely on Nathalie, the 2004 French film
directed by Anne Fontaine. The plot revolves around a professional
couple: a successful gynaecologist Catherine Stewart (Julianne Moore),
and her equally successful university-professor husband, David (Liam
fails to turn up at a surprise birthday party in his honour, Catherine
begins to suspect infidelity. When he openly flirts with a waitress at a
restaurant in Catherine's presence, she becomes even more suspicious.
Through a chance meeting at the restaurant's ladies room, Catherine
bumps into Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), a beautiful high-class call girl. In
desperation, Catherine hires Chloe to seduce David to test his loyalty.
totally unfulfilled, while everyone around her is involved in intimate
relationships – even her teenage son Michael (Max Thierot), an
accomplished concert-pianist, has no qualms about inviting his
girlfriend to stay the night. Things quickly begin to spin out of
control for Catherine, as Chloe recites intimate details of her
encounters with her husband. Complications ensue as she tries to break
her agreement, and with it, her relationship with Chloe.
largely based on Nathalie (with featured the adorably sexy Emmanuelle
Beart in the title role), Chloe has a few more twists, and an
added touch of seemingly convoluted melodrama. Moore is in fine form as
the troubled Catherine; her emotionally charged portrayal of the role is
both sympathetic and entirely credible. Seyfried's performance as the
seductive and mysterious Chloe is amazingly audacious and represents a
total departure from her earlier roles in Mean Girls and Mama
Mia . Neeson's David is a shallow, one-dimensional character that
lacks any emotional depth, though Neeson was dealing with the tragic
death of his wife at the time (she died in a skiing accident during
filming, prompting Egoyan to reduce his role in the film).
Egyptian-born, Armenian-Canadian Egoyan is well known for this kind of
sexual melodrama – especially in early works such as The Adjuster
(1991) and, memorably, 1994’s Exotica . However, it was The
Sweet Hereafter (1997) that earned him an Oscar nomination for Best
Director, and much deserved international recognition. Nevertheless, he
would once again, return to his non-conventional style of filmmaking
with Felicia's Journey (1999), a film about an enigmatic serial
killer, and Ararat (2000), a journey back in time to 1915 to the
harrowing events of the Armenian genocide, in an attempt to explore his
own cultural roots. This was followed by the critically acclaimed
Where the Truth Lies (2005).
marks yet another comeback to commercial filmmaking by Egoyan, though
one feels he goes a little overboard clichéd melodramatic twists.
However the film still features lush Toronto settings (Toronto standing
in for itself, for once), an outstanding score by Mychael Danna and its
two superb, central performances. Chloe is entertaining, despite
its obvious flaws.