1 hour, 36 minutes
Dr. Catherine Stewart (Julianne Moore, Far From Heaven) is a spectator in her own life. She watches as her son Michael (Max Thieriot, Jumper) continually defies her. She watches as her husband, David (Liam Neeson, Kinsey), entrances every young woman with his charm. When David intentionally misses his birthday party, she worries he's cheating. Catherine hires an escort she's seen from her office window, Chloe (Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer's Body), to attempt to settle her insecurities.
If your script calls for a strong woman whose emotional state is deteriorating, looks like a job for Julianne Moore. Likewise, Neeson can furrow a brow of loving concern like few others. Seyfried proves she can step away from the kids' table to join the adults' party. As the outsider brought into the center of the Stewarts' problems, her role as temptress is impressive although sorely underwritten.
You won't find fault in the major players' acting. This erotic thriller keeps your eyes glued to the screen for many reasons, but Chloe suffers from one-sided storytelling. Atom Egoyan (Where the Truth Lies) directs with a skillful hand; subtle cues by the actors and symbolism within the scenes tell far more than any of the dialogue. Somewhere between Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary) adapting the French film, Nathalie, and the final cut, the lack of development of Chloe weakens the film's overall impact.
To clarify, the post's title is a reference that a very select few of my friends might remember. During a weekend school event, my high school government teacher spoke those words among a group of us when a sexy woman in a polka-dotted dress walked by and gave him a wink and a smile. I wonder if his game was tight enough to seal the deal.
I mention this because that memory sprang to mind as I gazed upon Julianne Moore in all her freckled glory. I thought Egoyan's direction of Alison Lohman's sexcapades in Where the Truth Lies was hot, but watching Ms. Moore writhe in ecstasy as her lady garden is attended to is...whoa. In a shower scene, Egoyan focuses on Moore's erect nipples (like erasers on those jumbo kiddie pencils) "for absolutely no reason," according to Monique Elisabeth of Movie Reviews by FAQs. I'd argue it was to illustrate Catherine's fixation over the details of David and Chloe's affair, and maybe, just maybe, it was a little gratuitous. Viewers will also be pleased to know that Amanda Seyfried's eyes are not, in fact, the biggest pair of hers you'll remember from Chloe.
The Money Shot
The performances and skillful direction are reason enough to see Chloe. The erotic content is just a nice plus to this thriller, especially for us pervs. Though Chloe's vacuous motivations leaves you wishing Egoyan had done more 'splaining, it's still one steamy, thought-provoking romp.
Thursday, April 8, 2010