“Chloe” is the latest film by Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan and it’s a pretty intense drama about a wife so paralyzed by her sexual fears and frustrations, she becomes a puppet-master of sorts in a sexy game of cat and mouse. Tiring of her flirtatious husband David (Neeson) making bedroom eyes at every woman he sees, wife Catherine (Moore) decides to see how far her husband would be willing to take his self-described “harmless flirting” if given the chance. Enter beautiful young prostitute Chloe (Seyfried) who Catherine hires to act like she’s more than a little bit interested in David.
Amanda Seyfried as the films titular character is smoking, smoking hot and when you couple that with the fact that Catherine is a huge ice queen, it’s not a shock that David reacts strongly towards Chloe’s advances. Blessed with a near perfect, curvy body Chloe has the ideal “Madonna/Whore” complex going on as her sweet, wide eyed innocence blends with the fact she is, well, a whore. Yet there’s much more at play here aside from the basic storylines of honesty, sex and betrayal. Namely, you never know who to trust as no one is clear with the truth nor are they clear with their intentions.
When Catherine sets the relationship in motion she only asks that Chloe report back to her with the details of the flirtation; she never asks her to get too touchy feely. However when Chloe takes the simple flirting a step further, Catherine acts shocked by the events but is clearly sexually aroused by them as well. Through Chloe’s interpreted interactions with David, Catherine gets totally turned on and before long, Chloe has her in bed as well and from there, things get crazy. Literally. Many people will try to hang the term “Hitchcockian” on “Chloe” but I felt more of a DePalma vibe only somehow slightly less sleazy and misogynistic.
For instance the interactions between Chloe and David are trysts that Catherine is unable to have with him herself and it’s unclear why. All we know is that her frigidness towards men has soured her marriage and also alienated the couples’ teenage son Michael (Thieriot). All the men in the film keep Catherine at arms length and it’s not too difficult to understand why as she’s pushy, nosy and cold towards men which makes her attraction to Chloe all the more compelling. It did remind me of Hitchcock’s icy blondes but in Hitchcock films, there’s always a suffocating compulsion to not act and when action is taken, the circumstances are dire for the characters. Here’s, it’s all about the sex and Egoyan’s point-of-view definitely skews more towards DePalma than Hitchcock. In other words, there’s some sexy, steamy sex followed by some psychologically edgy repercussions. It also all feels kind of half-baked which has always been one of my biggest gripes about DePalma.
“Chloe” is a taut, adult thriller that succeeds so well in its set-up that when the third act rolls around, you’re left expecting more. I felt everything was set up so perfectly between all the characters that a huge ending was coming at any second. What happened instead felt flat and almost predictable. Moore, Neeson and Seyfried are all terrific and as a big fan of Egoyan’s, it was great to see him get back into the big time following some pretty obscure movies that struggled to find an audience. Looking back at his work I hadn’t realized he directed some “Friday the 13th” and “Alfred Hitchcck Presents” television shows so “Chloe” would also appear to be a return to the thriller genre for him as well. If you’re looking for a steamy, sexy mind-fuck of a film, “Chloe” might be for you. I was just let down by a mediocre ending following such a strong set-up.