Rated R for strong sexual content including graphic dialogue, nudity and language, 96 minutes
"Chloe": Glossy but empty thriller
The new indie thriller "Chloe" about an upscale woman testing the fidelity of her husband, is a smooth, well-acted drama that leaves you feeling cold and vacuous. The premise has been seen before: it's actually a remake of the 2004 French film "Nathalie," a flawed but better film than this. There are a few powerful, erotically charged moments but the contrivances make it too implausible.
Julianne Moore is upscale Canadian doctor Catherine Stewart. Her husband David (Liam Neeson) is a successful professor, and her son Michael (Max Thieriot) is a student. David has been keeping some late hours and misses some important dates, leaving Catherine to suspect he's having an affair, especially after discovering some pictures on his phone with another woman. She hires a pretty, down-to-earth call girl named Chloe ("Big Love's" Amanda Seyfried) to seduce her husband to test his fidelity, but ends up putting the whole family in danger of being torn apart by a girl who isn't who she says she is.
"Chloe" is an interesting, somewhat titilating drama that's overshadowed by a central miscasting and the contrivances and implausible twists that hamper the film in the later chapters. Director Atom Egoyan ("The Sweet Hereafter") remakes Anne Fontaine's 2004 French film "Nathalie" while channeling Hitchcock, with mixed results. It's sleek, erotic and detached; "Chloe" isn't a terrible film by any means - I can watch Moore in just about anything and she ably carries the film - I just had a hard time buying into it.
The film's biggest flaw is the crucial miscasting of Seyfried in the role of "Chloe." She's not a bad actress she's just too young to pull off the role, which requires a slightly older actress with more depth. She's seemingly out of her league next to the wonderful Moore, who gives another layered, affecting performance as the wife who takes things in her own hands, to disasterous results. Neeson is serviceably melodramatic in a role that's smaller than the ads portray (this was the film he was shooting when his wife Natasha Richardson died last year).
Not to give too much away, but by the time Chloe seduces the whole family you'll be ready for it to end, with twists that become more implausible at each turn. Sure, the scenes with Seyfried and Moore are memorably steamy, but other than that, there's not much to go on. It wants to be Hitchock but ends up being a ripoff of the slutty 1992 Drew Barrymore movie "Poison Ivy."