What is it about playing a prostitute or a stripper that seems to be so enjoyable for actresses? Megan Fox, while promoting her movie 'Jonah Hex,' announced that every actress should play a prostitute at least once during their careers. Now Amanda Seyfried, who coincidentally starred with Fox in 'Jennifer's Body,' takes her turn in the sexual thriller 'Chloe.' What's puzzling is the fact that Seyfried is at the top of her game after her work in movies like 'Mamma Mia!' and 'Dear John.' This type of titillating nudity usually surfaces at the start of a struggling actresses career, or later when their professional prospects seem to require a jumpstart or reinvention. I was skeptical after hearing about Atom Egoyan's ('Exotica') new erotic thriller 'Chloe' and how it's main selling point was the fact that Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried roll around together in bed sheets, wearing nothing but pleasure-induced soft core smiles, but I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the intriguingly dark nature of this thriller.
One day, Catherine (Moore) sees a striking blonde prostitute (Seyfried) outside her office window. We don't really know the exact reason why she's so fixated on the girl. Catherine's husband, David (Liam Neeson), is a college professor who finds it increasingly hard to love his wife. Even when she throws him a supposed surprise party he doesn't bother showing up. They're one of those couples that create tension just being in the same room together.
Catherine finds a suspicious picture of David on his cell phone with one of his students. She automatically thinks that David is cheating on her. After years of rejection and a failing marriage it isn't hard to see why Catherine comes to cheating as a conclusion. Unfortunately, she can't prove that he's cheating so she takes it upon herself to hire a hooker to seduce him. If he gives into the seduction, he's guilty, if not, then it's back to their unloving marriage, but at least she can trust him not to love anyone else!
Chloe (Seyfried) is the hooker Catherine chooses to seduce her husband. Seyfried's Chloe is the most interesting part of the movie. Why is she doing what she's doing? Does she enjoy it? Is she hell-bent on using her powers of sexuality and manipulation to control and possess people? Egoyan doesn't provide many answers during the film, instead he lingers, watching each of these characters wallow in their lives. Maybe they don't have any answers themselves.
'Chloe' is confusing yes, but Egoyan's constant, subdued style hints at an undercurrent of malice. The three leads jump head first into a film that if played any other way could turn into a laughable camp-fest. Here Moore, Neeson, and Seyfried add a dynamic quality and take on the material without any reservations. Moore again provides a performance that shows she's not afraid of anything.
The slow, methodical pacing, along with the hoards of unanswered questions, may leave some viewers with a bad taste in their mouths. On the other hand, these are some brilliantly executed performances from some seasoned actors. They make it believable and erotic.
'Chloe' is definitely a stylized work by Egoyan and his cinematographer Paul Sarossy ('The Wicker Man' ). Colors are slightly oversaturated and a diffuse filter seems to be used throughout the movie, giving it more of a dream-like feel. Colors are softer, except for the color red, which bursts off the screen whenever shown. Seyfried's dark red lipstick is a perfect example to keep a look out for. The 1080p presentation from Sony gets high marks in the fine detail category. Close ups reveal striking facial details and slight blemishes of the skin. During the intimate scene between Moore and Seyfried it's even possible to pick out tiny body hairs as the camera pans around the writhing bodies of the two stars. Grain is a consistent presence, but only adds to the cinematic feel of the movie. Blacks are handled well, but could be darker and more precise. Shadow delineation provides a good bit of detail throughout the film, but there are a few darker instances where faces, clothing, and objects disappear into blackness. The stylized vision of Egoyan, may indeed be having some affect on the blacks here.
Overall, 'Chloe' looks great for a film of this genre. The mysterious look is carried across nicely in high definition.
Sony's 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound presentation accompanying 'Chloe,' works well, but isn't going to blow you away with sonic pleasures.
First and foremost, the dialogue here, which is by far the main focus of the features, is presented nicely through the center channels. It never gets muddled up or drowned out by the other aspects of the sound design. Chloe's club, and a walk down a busy city street, provide the movie with some deeply engaging surround sound. Too bad much of the time we're left with reserved or silent rear speakers. Directionality works well as cars zoom through the front channels producing some nice panning effects. There's nothing overly exciting about this track, but to Sony's credit, it provides a solid presentation.
In a way 'Chloe' feels confused, and a bit muddled, but I think that was Egoyan's intention. We're not supposed to know why Chloe does the things she does. She has a power over people that can't be quantified or explained. It's somewhat eerie. Yes there is a love scene between Moore and Seyfried, which some people are very excited to see, but there's something about this movie that rises above famous girl-on-girl action. It's haunting, and thrilling to watch. The video is well above average, while the sound leaves a little to be desired. Same old, same old when it comes to the extras. Overall, I'd say rent it.