Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Chloe" (2009)

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

Chloe [Blu-ray]For full disclosure: I think Amanda Seyfried is fricking hot as hell.

Catherine Stewart (Julianne Moore) is a gynecologist with a successful practice, married to college professor David Stewart (Liam Neeson).  Catherine is unhappy in her marriage, and suspects that David has been having affairs with his students.  In order to test his loyalties, she hires a prostitute she meets one night in a bar to attempt to seduce her husband and report back his reaction.  Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) does as she's told, and reports back to Catherine that David seems receptive to her advances. 

Catherine hires Chloe to continue tempting her husband, against her better judgment.  Catherine and David begin to butt heads constantly, and their relationship frays further.  Catherine finds herself spending more and more time with Chloe, who tells her every detail of her encounters with David, shaping her stories into erotically charged tales.  Catherine soon begins to fantasize about the things Chloe tells her, and finally finds that she's drawn to Chloe herself.

But after Catherine and Chloe share a passionate tryst, Catherine begins to realize that Chloe is, in fact, dangerously unstable.  Chloe has become obsessed with Catherine, and becomes enraged when Catherine tries to break off their relationship.  How will she repair her relationship not only with David, but with her teenage son Michael (Max Thierot), who is also drawn into Chloe's web?

"Chloe" is a decent enough film, and it succeeds in being a sexually charged drama.  Where I find issue with it is its classification as an "erotic thriller."  Eroticism is not in short supply... thrills are.  It's certainly not the fact that the film is a slow burn, not at all.  It's just that the thriller aspect, that Chloe is dangerous and may attempt to kill Catherine and her family, isn't introduced until the final minutes of the film.  The rest of it is just straight relationship drama through and through, which almost makes the last fifteen minutes of the film seem out of place. 

But for the rest of the film, though it can be a bit slow-moving and could use some trimming, it's a fine relationship drama.  The cast is uniformly excellent.  Julianne Moore carries the film, while Neeson has more of a supporting role.  Everyone has great chemistry with each other. 

On the subject of nudity... there's a pretty good amount.  If you've ever wanted to see Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried naked, this is the movie for you.  If you've ever wanted to see the two of them naked together, this is definitely the movie for you.  I've always thought Moore to be a beautiful woman, and I think red hair and freckles are sexy as hell.  Seyfried was hot all the way back in "Veronica Mars," and has a sort of feline quality that works perfectly here as she schemes and maneuvers her way through Catherine and David's marriage.

The problem is really that while "Chloe" is a solidly crafted film, really the only thing that makes it remarkable at all is the novelty of Moore and Seyfried stripping down and getting it on.  Couple that with some pacing troubles, and it's hard to make any real recommendation for "Chloe."  I can't really recommend watching a movie based on the existence of a single sex scene, can I?  "Chloe" is more of a relationship drama with a late thriller twist.  If you're looking for a real trashy erotic thriller, "Basic Instinct" is the way to go.  "Chloe" wants to be more artful, and it certainly is.  It stands in stark contrast to Paul Verhoeven's nasty murder mystery sex flick.