A remake of the 2003 Emmanuelle Béart led French film Nathalie..., it centres on the well-off Stewart family and how Amanda Seyfried's hooker-with-a-heart-of-stone gets tangled up in their lives and threatens to rip them apart. When Moore's doctor Catherine suspects her husband David (Neeson) of seeing other women, she hires the eponymous call girl to put his fidelity to the test. As Catherine becomes more and more curious about Chloe's encounters with David, the pair's relationship moves from business to personal. Soon, Chloe begins to zone in on Catherine's piano protégé son Michael (Max Thieriot) and events take a turn for the creepy.
Through Moore and Seyfried, director Atom Egoyan explores paranoia and obsession, delving into the darker aspects of human nature and familial breakdown. It's certainly his most mainstream work to date, but retains an indie spirit through its character-driven narrative. It's Chloe's desire to have both artistic merit and commercial appeal that holds it back. Egoyan tells his story at such a leisurely clip, that by the time the third act twist arrives there's been plenty of opportunity to figure out exactly what it is. The score, too, is a bit of a muddled mess of quiet ambience and heavy strings, but Egoyan smartly supports his themes of self-reflection and false perceptions by using mirrors as a recurring motif. Chloe is a movie with an identity crisis - it's neither a complex character study nor a luridly entertaining skin flick.
Nevertheless, there are strong performances all around, with Julianne Moore the stand-out as the sexually repressed wife who is drawn in by Seyfried's temptress. The Mamma Mia! actress is a little too old to be a Lolita and too saucer-eyed for a Glenn Close/Sharon Stone-style nympho, yet she's convincing in the bunny boiler role, combining girl-next-door innocence with a sexual confidence that gets the Stewarts' libidos racing. Neeson acquits himself well in a secondary role as the horndog husband, bringing subtle shades to his mid-life marital crisis. A certain scene late on will ensure that Chloe gets furiously screen-capped when it hits DVD, but it's the excellent acting from the leading ladies and Egoyan's clear visual eye that make it a good watch.
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