Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CHLOE

Written by Erin Cresside Wilson
Directed by Atom Egoyan
Starring Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson and Amanda Seyfried


Catherine Stewart: I don’t know whether I should be relieved or just go hang myself.

Atom Egoyan is one of Canada’s most celebrated auteur filmmakers but you would never know it from watching his latest, CHLOE. I thought the hyper-sexualized erotic thriller went out in the ‘90’s but Egoyan seems bent on bringing it back with this remake of the 2004 Anne Fontaine (COCO AVANT CHANEL) film, NATHALIE. He also seems bent on proving that Toronto, where the film takes place, is just as stylish as New York City, but he may just end up ruining his reputation for being talented and insightful at the same time.

Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) is the first person we meet. She is pulling up her stockings, presumably getting dressed after an intimate encounter, or on her way to one, from the look of her under garments. She thinks to herself about how much attention must be paid to detail in her line of work. As she continues on about sexual needs and how to anticipate them, it becomes explicitly clear what line of work that really is. The words that come out of her mouth are sharp and meant to be shocking. Only we’ve met this girl plenty of times already and she has nothing new to say. She’s just pretty when she says it.

We next meet Catherine and David Stewart (Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson). They are a well-to-do couple who have been together for many years and have an adolescent son living with them. They are surrounded by excess and yet she’s miserable and he doesn’t care. She suspects he’s having an affair; he flirts shamelessly in front of her. They can’t even work together when it comes to dealing with their own son. It should be no surprise then that instead of confronting her husband when she suspects him of having an affair that she hires a prostitute to trap him so that she can know for a fact. Enter Chloe and exit all sense of suspense and surprise.


Let alone that rich, white people bringing problems upon themselves is hardly something an audience can sympathize with, Egoyan is also overtly obvious with all of his other intentions as well. I understand that he wants to open the discussion about sexual politics and the increasing disconnected nature of our modern society but I don’t need scene after scene of Seyfried talking dirty to Moore about her husband or a breakup on web cam to get those points. And while Seyfried does her best to remain hauntingly distant and neutral throughout to mask her deep-rooted emotional issues, it is still pretty clear every step of the way what is coming next. CHLOE is a thriller without any thrills, sexual or otherwise. Toronto looks good though.


For a previous interview with Atom Egoyan, regarding his 2009 film, ADORATION, click the title.

For an interview with Steven Soderbergh about THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE, a much better insight into the life of a high-priced escort, again, click the title.

5 comments:

The Mad Hatter said...

Interesting. I've spent much of the last week reading reviews of this film where the writer liked it more than me...now I finally have a person who liked it less!

I think part of my diggin' it more than you might come down to me buying Seyfried more than you did as Chloe (no pun intended).

Great work as always sir - very astute even if you didn't dig it. case you were curious, here's my take.

Mike Lippert said...

Although I appreciate where your review is coming from and that it is well writtem, I couldn't agree less with it. Considering that I've already wrote basically the same thing on about 3 other blogs plus my own review, like Hatter, I'm just going to link to the review so notes can be compared.

http://mikesyoutalkingtome.blogspot.com/2010/03/chloe-45-out-of-5.html

Cool interview with Egoyan by the way. How did you manage to get him to talk to you?

Black Sheep said...

Perhaps I was not in the best of moods when I wrote my review .. who knows? I'll start with The Hatter. First of all, I loved your review. You're a beautiful writer .. eyes like dinner plates, nice. And I loved what you said about how Egoyan shot Toronto. It is all about perspective and, while I thought he was trying too hard because I live around the corner from there, maybe if I stood still, I could see it the way he does. I would just need a good lighting guy.

I didn't hate CHLOE. It was ok, passable, but I thought there were far too many cliches to make it even remotely original. I enjoyed Seyfried but I found her direction to be a little plain. Calm, collected, classy .. as though that will make it so they never suspect. I didn't buy it but I agree with you about how much she has matured.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, Hatter. See you soon.

Mike, I'll get to you later .. gotta jet!

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Luke said...

Thanks for letting me know I should avoid this film. I was interested when I saw Moore and Liam attached, but I guess even today Liam is making odd choices in scripts (A-Team, Clash of the Titans).