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Review: Chloe

6 10

PLOT: A doctor (Julianne Moore) hires a young prostitute (Amanda Seyfried) to seduce her husband (Liam Neeson) - who she thinks is unfaithful.

Review: CHLOE is the latest film from Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan, who, after taking a sojourn into more political fare such as his recent ADORATION, returns to the psycho-sexual realm of his earlier films- like EXOTICA, and THE SWEET HEREAFTER. Anyone who’s seen either of those films knows that Egoyan’s not one to shy away from controversy, and once again he pushes the envelope, with this standing as a frank examination of the occasionally changing sexual proclivities of a loving, mature couple.

Also, Amanda Seyfried gets naked, but more on that later...

Catherine (Moore), and David (Neeson) seem to have it all. They both have great careers, with her being a successful gynecologist, and him being a revered professor. They have a sprawling apartment in an especially trendy area of Toronto (which for once isn’t doubling for another city), an appreciation for the finer things in life, and a teenaged son who’s a musical prodigy. Alas, all is not well. After twenty years together, they’ve forgotten how to relate to each other sexually, and Catherine suspects David is cheating with some of his adoring female students. However, she’s not entirely sure this is the case. A chance encounter with the titular call-girl Chloe (Seyfried) leads to her being hired to seduce David, to see if he’ll succumb to temptation.

Chloe immediately reports back that yes, David is indeed unfaithful, but when Catherine tries to end their arrangement, Chloe refuses to back off. Catherine, who’s drawn to Chloe, and aroused by her liaisons with David, soon finds herself engaging in a torrid sexual relationship with the adoring Chloe, although, as per usual in films like this, the affair spirals out of control- leading to a FATAL ATTRACTION-like denouement that more or less ruins what had been a fairly intriguing erotic tale.

I was especially upset at the abrupt, formulaic ending due to the fact that, up to that point, CHLOE had been one of the more honest films I’ve seen about sex recently. Think about it- how often does Hollywood actually look at sex in an honest way? Nowadays, the industry seems to be more puritanical than they were around the time a film like BASIC INSTINCT was made, so CHLOE was a breath of fresh air.

Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried are both excellent. Neither actress shies away from nudity (although Seyfried's nude scenes are fleeting), and the two have an especially torrid (re:hot) sex scene about an hour into the film. My only beef is that I found it hard to believe Neeson would be tempted to cheat on the beautiful Moore, although thankfully, he doesn’t end up being quite the rake he initially seems to be. Neeson’s screen-time is fairly limited, as this is really Moore, and Seyfried’s film, but it’s nice to see him in a character role, although I do love seeing him kick ass and take names in films like TAKEN.

It’s really too bad that CHLOE has such a contrived finale, as the ending is so lackluster and heavy-handed that it almost comes off as funny. Usually Egoyan’s a little more subtle, so the conclusion was a surprise. Still, it’s a film worth seeing, especially if you have a thing for either Moore or Seyfried.

RATING: 6/10




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