Tuesday, March 30, 2010


"It's not always Shakespeare, but it's genuine."

Convinced that her husband is cheating, a Doctor hires a young prostitute to test his faithfulness.

My first experience with Director Atom Eyogan was the movie Exotica- a dark, frank, at times erotic journey through the emotional spectrum. His newest feature Chloe is no different. It is all these things and it makes sure you know it from the word go.

Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson play the married couple in question well, and without completely over doing the obvious cues of two people who've drifted apart. Amanda Seyfried plays the title role, a prostitute hired to come into the relationship with disastrous results. There's an interesting dynamic to Seyfried, "the up and comer", playing the wild card element between two seasoned names. Moore and Neeson spatula there performances on like smooth frosting; to her credit, Seyfried keeps up, but not quite with the same subtlety. This role was obviously meant to stretch Seyfried, and though she makes it the effort occasionally shows.

At times all the performances can come across cold, but I don't fault the film for this. Eyogan seems to be going for this feeling. All his color pallets are cool, and nearly every outdoor shot is replete with swirling, condensing breath and icy street corners. Overall this adds to the sense of things boiling below the surface.

To me, Chloe seemed to me to run like a foreign film. And by that I refer to it's lack of a lot of the "sensibilities" that shape American film. There are things general audiences here will not accept, things they don't want to hear said or to be shown without any sense of reverence- at least in main stream film. I didn't use the word "frank" on a whim. As a warning to the squeamish I say: the characters in this movie speak frankly about sex. While this probably would put many audience goers off, I found it offered a sense of reality to the characters that they otherwise would have lacked greatly. And besides, making a movie about the assertion of sexual power doesn't really work if they refer to sexual organs as: "...you know..."

Summed up, this is a simple story told efficiently. There are no space aliens or characters waking up to find out they were another character all along, but it doesn't let this keep it from telling an interesting story. Eyogan's Chloe does well even while avoiding anything over the top and I for one didn't miss it- as much as I may love space aliens, and characters who wake up to find out they were another character all along.

Reel Deal Recommends:
Magnolia: How can I recommend anything else for Julianne Moore.
Taken: Neeson gives us all the greatness of Bourne- plus a reason to care!
Jennifer's Body: Amanda Seyfried in another story of sexual (re)awakening.

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