Interesting character drama with a remarkably awful finale
It’s always interesting to see the kinds of choices a young actress will make after she hits stardom. After Megan Fox hit stardom via Transformers, she opted to keep picking roles based on her looks and sex appeal as opposed to any requiring any sort of demands on her as an actress. Amanda Seyfried, who starred with her in the flop Jennifer’s Body, has taken an alternate route as an actress since hitting fame on the big screen with Mean Girls after years on television. Taking a number of independent roles, as well as stealing Mamma Mia! from Oscar winner Meryl Streep by being the only one on screen with a natural singing voice, Seyfried seems poised to be amongst the finer actresses of her generation when all is said and done. And when all is said and done, Chloe is the film people will point to as proof that her acting chops have significant potential.
Seyfried stars as the titular character, a prostitute who finds herself in the middle of a marriage on the brink. Catherine (Julianne Moore) is a doctor concerned with her husband’s fidelity. David (Liam Neeson) is very flirtatious amongst women who aren’t his wife, missing his flight home from a conference and the corresponding material making it look bad in this regard. When a chance encounter between Chloe and Catherine leads to the latter using the former to “test” David’s fidelity, the results are not what Catherine is expecting. Caught up in an escalating affair between Chloe and David, Catherine finds her values and her marriage tested as it leads to an unimaginable finale.
And unimaginable is perhaps the wrong word for it; for the first two acts, the film is a top notch erotic thriller. As Catherine and Chloe bond, so to speak, over Chloe’s affair with David there’s a palpable chemistry between the two. As Atom Egoyan explores this dynamic between the two, a first rate erotic thriller is into play until the film takes a decidedly wild turn into Fatal Attraction territory, marking the finale completely out of place with the film’s previous ramblings.
But the first two acts are absolutely special. Taking out the philosophical ramblings of Nathalie…, which the film was remade from, and adding in a bit more sex while replacing the more cerebral approach of that film, Chloe has taken the finer points of that film while substituting a more “Hollywood” conclusion. Part of it may have to do with rescripting the film in the wake of Natalia Richardson’s death (Liam Neeson’s spouse), but one can’t help but watch this film and see that the finer points of the original have been taken and a more clichéd, unoriginal ending have been attached.
Seyfried is the real find in the film, though. With a pair of acting heavyweights around her, she doesn’t so much hold her own but command the screen. Her chemistry with Neeson is limited, but the film is centered on their relationship. Its focus (and rightly so) is between Chloe and Catherine, and Moore and Seyfried have an intense chemistry that culminates in a powerful love scene between the two. It’s interesting to see Moore, perhaps the best actress currently working not to win an Oscar, to raise her performance to match a relative newcomer as Seyfried more than holds her own on screen. It’s fascinating to see as Seyfried seems to be coming into her own as an actress and this is perhaps the perfect vehicle for her to do it.
Chloe would be much more than an independent film looking to find an audience if it had an ending worthy of its first two acts. Instead, it’s just an erotic thriller that collapses under its own weight.
Director: Atom Egoyan Notable Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson Writer(s): Erin Cressida Wilson based on the original screenplay “Nathalie…”
Scott Sawitz is an Inside Pulse original. He's also been featured on The Ultimate Fighter.com, Fox Sports.com, Nerdcore Movement.com, CagePotato.com, Inside Fights.com and Film Arcade.net (among others). When Scott isn't writing about film he's making his own. Check out Drunk Justice Productions right here.