Amanda Seyfried is everywhere these days. Although she typically does the light-hearted fare like MAMMA MIA or LETTERS TO JULIET, she took a drastic departure from those family films to do CHLOE, an erotic suspense thriller that showcases Seyfried’s darker side and shows that the young actress is set to be more than a rom-com staple. As well as she, and everyone else performed, the movie lacked direction and was riddled with too many inconsistencies to be noteworthy for anything other than Seyfried’s welcomed departure from the cheesy romance films.
After he misses his surprise birthday party, Catherine Stewart (Julianne Moore) begins to think her dashing husband David (Liam Neeson) is cheating on her. Needing the proof for her own piece of mind, she hires a prostitute named Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) to see if her husband will go for her. When Chloe reports back that he did, in fact, go for her, Catherine discovers that she’s not only upset at her husband’s indiscretion, but she’s also aroused by the young Chloe. This leads to a dangerous obsession that is quickly taken too far for Catherine’s liking.
One of the biggest faults of the film is how they deal with and develop the character of Chloe. In the beginning, she’s presented as this strong, confident seductress that knows what she wants and how to get it. We continue this character development as we see her interact with Catherine and David and the audience begins to believe Chloe is much more than just a prostitute. But the third act is predicated on Chloe being something other than strong and confident, which changes the whole tone of the film. She inexplicably turns into a disturbed, weak and needy little girl that is neither strong nor intelligent. This change comes too quickly and contradicts everything we had just seen.
I also kept waiting for the big payoff. I liked the idea of a married woman hiring a prostitute to see if her husband will sway when tempted. I also love the idea of the prostitute using the wife’s insecurities for her own benefit. But neither idea was fully developed. I was hoping there was going to be some master plan and we’d get a justification for everything we’d witnessed, but the ending fell with a thud and the events in the film turned out to be nothing more than what we saw. Director Atom Egoyan has done this kind of thing before in films like EXOTICA and WHERE THE TRUTH LIES, which leads me to believe he relies too heavily on the erotic scenes and loses focus with the story.
As much as I enjoyed the eroticism between Chloe and Catherine, I need a lot more from my films than a well-filmed sex scene. Egoyan missed a chance to tell a sophisticated thriller and instead he let the audience down by failing to develop any type of mystery or deviant plan. The performances in CHLOE were top notch, but they couldn’t make up for the underdeveloped story.
Video: This is a beautiful transfer with black levels displayed wonderfully. The movie goes from well-lit to dimly-lit several times, but the transfer held true, which can be a challenge for some smaller films.
Audio: The surround channels weren’t used often as this is a dialogue-driven film, but what we got was fine.
Commentary with Amanda Seyfried, Atom Egoyan and Erin Cressida Wilson: I was worried when I saw who was participating in this commentary that it would be a spliced together track, but thankfully, they’re all together, or at least do the track together. Atom and Erin do most of the talking with Amanda chiming up when prompted. I enjoyed hearing from Erin, the screenwriter, just to get some of her insights into the script. Overall, it’s a good track and a definite must for fans of the film.
Introducing Cloe (25:42): The cast and crew show up to discuss what the film is and what the film means. It feels like it’s a made for TV featurette, so everyone is trying to tell you how great the film is. We get a little details on how the script came to be and how the cast became a part of the film. It’s a nice featurette for those that don’t have time for the commentary.
Deleted Scenes (5:24): The first deleted scene is a powerful one and adds a brand new element to the film with Catherine’s son. The other kind of plays off that storyline and add more to Michael’s storyline. I liked the storyline, but it needed more than two scenes to develop, so I’m glad these were cut.