Atom Egoyan’s new film “Chloe” is a tale of sexual obsession, a sort of thinking person’s “Fatal Attraction” with Julianne Moore in the Michael Douglas role…well sort of. While “Fatal Attraction” (1987) dealt with a married man’s consequences for his infidelity “Chloe” takes a different slant. The story deals with a woman’s investigation into her husband’s private life after she finds a picture of him with one of his female students. The event occurs after the husband returns home late from a business trip claiming to have missed his plane.
Moore plays Catherine Stewart a successful gynecologist married to college professor David Stewart (Liam Neeson). They live in a well appointed, modern but sterile looking home in Toronto which they share with their rude, sullen, teenaged, musical prodigy son Michael (Max Thieriot).
Catherine is certain of David’s infidelity, eschewing the usual “will the husband be caught or not” suspense gymnastics of this type of story. Instead the conflict is about Catherine’s need to learn what David finds in, and how he behaves with, other women. To that end she hires the titular Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) a high class prostitute. Catherine instructs Chloe to casually “meet” David and report back to her on what transpires.
So, we have a suspicious gynecologist, a call girl and an aloof husband. The film’s moodiness draws us into what is, for first two acts and part of the third, an intriguing story. However, like a lot of movies, there is trouble in the third act. “Chloe” ultimately opts for a “by the numbers,” deus ex machina, standard issue, “out of nowhere,” “huh!” type of conclusion.
The acting is very good. Neeson is not given much to do except be hang-dog and brooding, a part at which he, as always, excels. The two ladies, in contrast, do burn up the screen. One has to wish that with all this going for it “Chloe” might have delivered a more satisfying climax (pun intended).
Chloe, Director Atom Egoyan, 2010,
Sony Pictures Classics, 96 minutes, R