Director Atom Egoyan is working from someone else’s script for the first time in his career. Erin Cressida Wilson wrote this screenplay and she is most known for her screenplay Secretary which started the career of Maggie Gyllenhaal. Both Secretary and Chloe deal with a form of sexuality that is not commonly seen in cinemas. In this movie there is so much passion formed from anger and obsession.
It is all revolved around Catherine Stewart who is played perfectly by Julianne Moore. She fears that her husband David (Liam Neeson) is cheating on her with one of his students. She hires a beautiful young prostitute named Chloe to see if he falls for her seduction. This logic is so incredibly flawed that she shouldn’t be surprised at the drama that comes later.
At times it feels like there are two different movies going on and I clearly preferred one over the other. The family drama works really well because Moore and Neeson give really strong performances. The subplot with the son is significantly worse, but never distracting. Then there is Chloe’s movie. Amanda Seyfried does a good job about giving layers to this high-class prostitute who clearly has issues. Not enough really works in her movie though. Chloe becomes obsessed with Catherine and it’s not entirely clear why. The mystery of that is only enticing if there are grounds to theorize. There is so much left up to the audience that it is almost as if we are the author of this story. Also the dialog shifts from realistic to stylized when Chloe enters the room and it’s never as satisfying.
As the film teases and creeps around through, there are a lot of enjoyable moments thanks to Egoyan’s patience with letting the actors control the scenes. By the last fifteen minutes the script betrays the actors and leads them into a situation that is predictable and then ridiculous.
The bonus features for the DVD serve as an interesting companion to the film. The standard making-of documentary ends up being incredibly fascinating. Mostly because it was actually directed by Egoyan. Instead of showing clips from the movie, it is filled with fly-on-the-wall footage of the cast and crew preparing for shots and seeing the raw footage instead of the finished kind. It was a very nice change of pace. During the documentary they also gave “answers” for a lot of open-ended things. Sadly, none of it worked for me. If the movie is working, then they shouldn’t have to tell me the reason the son was angsty was because he blames the mother for the breakup of his girlfriend. The film seemed to suggest they were always like that.
Despite those aspects, the documentary and the commentary with Egoyan, Wilson, and Seyfried are very well done and entertaining. It’s too bad those are the only bonus features besides deleted scenes.
Movie: 3.5 Yaps
Extras: 4 Yaps