Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CHLOE / ***½

Distributor: Sony Classics
Release Date: March 26, 2010
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 96 minutes
MPAA Rating: R

If Amanda Seyfried wants to keep making weepy chick flicks like the Avatar-killing “Dear John” and the upcoming “Letters to Juliet,” that’s actually fine by me. As long as for every two of those she squeezes in a film like “Chloe” that lets her show off her unique charisma, she can make as many crappy chick flicks as it takes to pay her bills.

“Chloe” is actually a remake of a French film called “Nathalie…” that I happen to have seen while I was working at an awesome independent video store on a college campus that pretty much stocked every movie ever. Director Atom Egoyan (Oscar nominee for “The Sweet Hereafter”) is at the helm of this remake, which disproves the notion that every English speaking remake of foreign films is inferior to the original.

Seyfried stars in the title role, a beautiful young escort who gets an interesting business proposition. Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson play Catherine and David Stewart (no relation to the Eurythmics member or the former Oakland A’s Cy Young winner), one of those wealthy couples that appear to be perfect on the surface. When Catherine plans David a surprise birthday party and he somehow “misses his plane,” suspicions she must have had for years come bubbling to the surface.

Catherine wants to confirm her suspicions, and hires Chloe to interact with her husband and report back to her. Naturally, introducing a third party to an assumed monogamous sexual relationship is going to complicate matters, and that’s exactly what happens. Chloe also involves Catherine and David’s son Michael (Max Theriot of “Nancy Drew”), and things spiral out of control.

Egoyan does a superb job building the tension and revealing the story slowly. Moore and Neeson are old pros who not surprisingly can handle emotionally complex material like this. It’s Seyfried (and to a lesser extent, Theriot) that really surprises with the depth of her performance. Hopefully she’ll get the chance to show wider audiences that she’s capable of more than looking longingly at Channing Tatum. Those of us that saw “Chloe” already know.

Theater: AMC Oakview 24, Omaha, NE
Time: 1155 am
Date: April 8, 2010

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