Atom Egoyan

BY Scott A. GrayPublished Jul 19, 2010

Canada's favourite intellectual pervert has managed to temper the discomforting sleaze he wields so effectively with tastefully probing psychological eroticism in Chloe. Atom Egoyan directs a script by Erin Cressida Wilson, spun from French film Nathalie. The exceptionally talented Julianne Moore plays Catherine Stewart, a well-off gynaecologist who suspects her flirtatious university professor husband, David (Liam Neeson), of having a wandering penis, in addition to his wandering eye. A restaurant bathroom meeting introduces Catherine to the titular Chloe, a high-end call girl who immediately responds to Catherine's motherly kindness. Being neurotic, albeit with initial provocation, Catherine hires Chloe to try to seduce her husband, just to see how he'll respond. This sets off a series of meetings and agreements between the two women with increasingly sexual and questionably motivated results. Amanda Seyfried (Jennifer's Body) invests the title role with magnetic grace and an edgy, detached confidence through scenes of intense intimacy. The subtle emotional interplay between Moore and Seyfried is masterful, aided by gorgeous cinematography that often lingers on every minute eye twitch and lip tremble. Speaking of that cinematography, Egoyan does a wonderful job directing his DOP, loading the frames of each scene with visual metaphors (pay heed to the use of mirrors and windows). A lot of the film's charm also comes from how boldly the city of Toronto plays a major role. As Egoyan mentions in the excellent "Making Of," it's great to have Toronto play itself for a change. Key scenes take place in and outside Café Diplomatico and the Rivoli, including an integral performance by London, ON band Raised by Swans. In addition to the refreshingly revealing behind-the-scenes footage, the special features include an equally reflective commentary track with Egoyan, Seyfried and writer Erin Cressida Wilson, as well as a couple of deleted scenes that explain important motivations for the relationship dynamic between Catherine and her son, Michael, which are otherwise underdeveloped. While those scenes would have better rounded the film's male perspective of domineering motherhood, Chloe is much more about two insecure women mind-fucking each other for control and intimate understanding. If you like your erotic mysteries steamy and weird without getting too grimy, Chloe's the girl you're after.

Latest Coverage