Chloe: An Erotic Thriller By Atom Egoyan
By Sumaya Samarasinghe
Chloe by Canadian Director, Atom Egoyan has been described as an ‘erotic thriller’ starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried in the title role. The categorization of this film may cause confusion to some who may mistake it with pornography. Chloe is nothing of the sort, the film is suggestive, sensual and does have a few sex scenes, which are shot with class and grace.
The story is about discovering the different layers in everybody’s personalities. No one is who they seem to be and that is the beauty and valuable lesson learnt from this film.
Catherine, played by Julianne Moore, is a successful gynaecologist who strongly suspects her charismatic, music-teaching husband of cheating on her. When he does not turn up for his surprise birthday party claiming that he has missed his flight, Catherine decides to put her fears to rest by ‘testing’ him. And that is when the troubles start.
Testing one’s love or blindly trusting it, both do not seem like the correct solution towards achieving a happy relationship and when Catherine stops trusting, she begins to test.
Catherine hires a call girl, the beautiful Chloe to seduce David, played by Liam Neeson and to test how far he would go with her. Chloe is to report back to Catherine and give her every intimate detail of their encounters. But, the situation takes a strange turn and Catherine realises that she is slowly getting attracted to the intriguing Chloe.
Julianne Moore is once again fantastic in her role. She portrays to the outside, the image of being a successful, empowered woman; that would be the first layer of her character. The second layer is an insecure woman who looks longingly at her husband while he is busy flirting with younger women. She is unable to communicate with her disturbed teenage son and fears growing old. And finally, the third layer is the self discovery of her own character and certain sides of it which she never suspected.
None of the other leads are who they seem to be. Is Liam Neeson a detestable flirt? Is Amanda Seyfried a dove-eyed prostitute who is just doing what she is paid to do?
The only way to find out is to watch the film and try to not take too much into account a ridiculous ending. But considering the fact that 95% of the film is excellent, Armenian born, Canadian Director, Atom Egoyan is without any doubt one of the best independent film makers of his generation. There is warmth and intimacy in all his shots and he manages to extract so much of emotion from each of his actors, that sometimes one even feels that the camera is barely present. Egoyan’s best-known films are Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter, Sarabande which features cellist Yo Yo Ma’s performance of Bach’s Fourth Suite for Unaccompanied Cello and Ararat directed in 2002, generated quite a positive buzz for the Director.
Chloe is a remake of a French film called Nathalie directed by Anne Fontaine.