Review by Nathan Samdahl (B-)
Chloe, the newest entry from writer/director Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Adoration), follows in the dramatic footsteps of his past films, bringing to the screen deeply developed and observed characters like few others can. While not on the same level as The Sweet Hereafter, Egoyan's strongest film, Chloe presents a fairly common premise packed full of character nuance, which sustains the film. For instance, the character of Chloe (played brilliantly by Amanda Seyfried, who gets better and more attractive with each film she is in) is on the surface a professional escort hired by Julianne Moore to determine if Moore's husband (Liam Neeson) is cheating on her. However, through Chloe's minute mannerisms such as tiny smiles here and there, it is apparent that much more is going on below the surface. Her character eschews predictability (at least until towards the end), instead leaving the audience always a bit off kilter, wondering what will happen next.
Given the nuances of the Chloe character, the ending was perhaps the most disappointing part of the film. Without saying what happens, the climax of the movie seemed too predictable and lacked the subtlety of the rest of the film and of Chloe. I wanted to see an ending I hadn't seen before (which is perhaps too much to ask for), but given the depth of her character, an additional and unexpected punch to the gut at the end could have helped move the film to a new level. As is, the ending sadly holds the movie back.
Despite this issue, the rest of the film (including the beautiful cinematography by Paul Sarossy) easily sustained my interest. Seyfried's performance is at the same time sexy, but also childlike, which keeps the audience a bit uncomfortable, but in a good way (somewhat in the same way as the young girl Eli in Let The Right One In). Julianne Moore again is fantastic, being both relatable to the audience while still being a cold fish to almost every character in the film. Her struggle to find herself and to regain her standing within her own family feels real and cleverly leaves her character more vulnerable to manipulations of Chloe. Liam Neeson's performance is also strong, but it is Moore and Seyfried's performances here that will be remembered (along with their sex scene together).
Chloe is definitely a bit more accessible and mainstream than The Sweet Hereafter and Adoration, the other film of his I've seen, but sadly it just falls short of becoming a great film or one that I probably will remember come the end of this year. It is still definitely worth the watch as it trumps performance and character-wise many of the dramas that you will see (at least in the first half of the year).
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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