Year of Release: 2009
Date Viewed: August 12th, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Infidelity stories are a favorite cliche of Hollywood. Mainly because they attract so much box office revenue regardless of quality. It seemed for a while that it couldn't be possible to breathe any new life into this stale story arc. Leave it to Chloe to prove you wrong. For that to happen though, you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and perhaps for some it would be the forbidden zone.
Adapted from a French film named Nathalie, the title character is played by Amanda Seyfried, a giant leap sideways from her star-making role in Mean Girls. Chloe is an escort for hire who possesses the skills to pleasure anyone through her words and her actions. Her newest employer is Catherine (Julianne Moore), a gynecologist who suspects her college professor husband David (Liam Neeson) of acting unfaithful to their marriage. She can't prove it but all the signs are there. He is constantly flirting with young females, an airplane flight home was missed and their love life is not what it used to be.
Chloe is sent in as a spy of sorts to make advances on David to see if Catherine's suspicions are correct. What Chloe reports back to Catherine is stunning. But what's more stunning for the audience is Catherine's reactions. She seems less angry and more fascinated by the sexual exhibitions between her husband and her siren-esque client. What happens next may shock audiences into turning off this bizarre story before it resolves its ever increasing tension.
The film relies heavily upon Chloe's narration which leaves audiences to speculate how much if any of it is truthful. It helps us identify closer with Catherine by being left in the dark. And dark is certainly an accurate enough label for how the characters are perceived by the audience and each other. The mystery surrounding Chloe would have been better served if the movie opted to save her point of view until later in the film instead of having her speak in the very first scene. It almost ruins their chance to present Chloe as the enigma she is meant to be.
The character of Chloe is like a fairy tale creature. Anyone who lays eyes on her seems to fall for her. Seyfried's performance commands her words and mannerisms to be goddess-like without a hint of corniness. Moore and Neeson are both very good as usual. But Seyfried steals the show.
Think about this for a moment or two. Seyfried's career has traveled across such roads such as acting as a dumb high school blonde, acting as a sex crazed wild teenage druggie, singing with Pierce Brosnan to sharing the same screen as Megan Fox. This girl is fearless!
Special kudos is also owed to Liam Neeson. His wife passed away during the shooting of this film yet he was still able to suck up the distress long enough to finish his work. Well done, sir. And my heart goes out to you.
This is not the kind of film that you would want to bring home for a social gathering. The content is pretty raw to say the least. Had I watched Chloe with peers, it's a sure bet that at least half of them would turn away with the response "That was too weird for me." The other half will not be able to keep their eyes away from the screen for obvious reasons should you decide to take a chance on this film.
I belong to the latter half except that my reasons were different. It's unpredictable which is something that I never thought could be pulled off in an infidelity story again. It's also fearless in the sense that it has a story to tell and doesn't allow natural human sensitivity to compromise with its vision. Bold filmmaking like this shouldn't be ignored but it will be. That's just the natural order of things.
See it if you have the gumption. Just make sure the door is locked behind you to avoid an awkward conversation with whomever walks in during the film's more "revealing" moments.