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Arts and Culture Wed Mar 31, 2010 4 years ago

FILM REVIEW: 'Chloe'

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by: Pam Nadon Contributing Columnist

Watching Atom Egoyan's films make me feel like a peeping Tom. He delves into the most intimate aspects of people's lives, invading their privacy and unveiling their darkest secrets. In his new psychological thriller, "Chloe," Egoyan weaves a web of seductive intrigue from which his audience has no escape.

Julianne Moore plays Catherine Stewart, a successful gynecologist, whose sterile world is corrupt with suspicions and deceit. When her ever flirtatious husband's (Liam Neeson) faithfulness comes into question, Catherine hires a beautiful young prostitute named Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) to seduce him and report back to her. At the onset of the film we suspect that Chloe has had some major issues in her life when the camera briefly captures a glimpse of razor blade scars on her forearm.

Chloe's explicit details arouse not only Catherine's curiosity but her libido as well. Her husband's betrayal is so utterly devastating that she tells Chloe she doesn't know whether to leave or just hang herself. Clearly, Catherine is a woman whose ageing and loneliness have driven her to the brink. She loses control in that signature Egoyan manner by breaking all the rules.

Things are not as they seem in this multi-level story. Assumptions, motives and actions are all uncertain as Egoyan explores the dark depths of human relationships. Moore, the consummate actress (who should have received an Oscar nod for her outstanding work in "A Single Man"), is pitch-perfect as the severely wounded wife. Neeson's performance is an enigmatic achievement, never allowing the audience to quite fully grasp what his character is up to. And, I was astounded by Seyfried's ("Mamma Mia!”) duplicitous depiction of the doe-eyed psycho seductress. This is a film that definitely benefits from superb casting.

"Chloe" is one of those movies that probably won't generate a huge audience or remain in theaters for long. It didn't cost a zillion dollars to make and lacks even a single computer-generated image. But it's a rare gem for the lurking voyeur in all of us.

— Pam Nadon

 

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