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May 2, 2013

Chloe (2009)
Director: Atom Egoyan
Actors: Julianne Moore, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson


Synopsis: Toronto gynaecologist, Catherine Stewart (Julianne Moore), begins to suspect her husband, David (Liam Neeson), of having an affair. She enlists a young escort, Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), to test David’s fidelity, and over a series of increasingly lurid meetings, Chloe recounts to Catherine her gradual seduction of David…

Review: Material that in other hands might have been quite trashy or real soft-porn, ‘B’ movie status, gets a reasonably intelligent upgrade from Atom Egoyan, although ultimately the schlocky demands of its thriller genre override even Egoyan’s arty intentions.

Egoyan makes great use of his wintry Toronto location and the cubist, glass-laden architecture of the Stewart family’s house to reflect on the emotional dislocation between the couple (and their teenage son, Michael), with the glass in particular being an ironic symbol of Catherine’s inability to see the truth of what’s in front of her. It’s a well acted three-hander, and Amanda Seyfried in particular does a decent job in her lead role. She’s beautiful enough to be the beguiling orb around which the lurid affairs are conducted, but also suggestive of just enough nous and intelligence to be able to carry off the ultimate deception.

It’s just a shame in the end that the film seems too content to wind itself up in a contrived, familiar ‘thriller’ climax, when I felt a more cerebral, psychological exploration of its themes of obsession and emotional blindness might have been more engrossing. Apparently the French film, Nathalie, on which this is based had just that more introspective edge, so it will be interesting to check that one out in due course… (May 2013)

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