Sleazy does it

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews -

OH, COME on, Atom Egoyan. You’re hav­ing a laugh. Aren’t you? Last month’s Ado­ra­tion was no mas­ter­piece, but you could de­tect signs of an in­tel­lect tick­ing away. This is just ridicu­lous.

Sure, Chloe may be based on a “stylish” French film. Yes, it is the work of the cere­bral trick­ster be­hind The Sweet Here­after and Ex­ot­ica. But it plays like one of those cheap erotic thrillers that fol­lowed in the wake of Ba­sic In­stinct. It should be called some­thing like Deadly Com­pul­sion or In­ti­mate Be­trayal.

Any­way it’s called Chloe and it con­cerns a high-class sex worker of that name. When Dr Ju­lianne Moore catches her hus­band, scholar Liam Nee­son, dal­ly­ing sus­pi­ciously with fe­male stu­dents, she hires Chloe (numb Amanda Seyfried) to flash her as­sets in the tow­er­ing aca­demic’s di­rec­tion. The es­cort will test the strength of Nee­son’s fi­delity and re­port the grue­some de­tails to her sus­pi­cious em­ployer.

Well, the film’s not quite called For­bid­den Pas­sion for noth­ing. Chloe tells of furtive grop­ings at the botan­i­cal gar­den and, when Moore crum­bles, lures her be­tween the sheets for a soft-fo­cus les­bian love romp (no other word will do) that would shame the mak­ers of Nine 1/2 Weeks.

You have to hand it to the classy ac­tors. De­spite the ever-in­creas­ing ab­sur­dity, they man­age to keep straight faces and de­liver the di­a­logue with su­per­hu­man sin­cer­ity. And Chloe does of­fer a few du­bi­ously di­vert­ing mo­ments of trans­gres­sive drama. When, af­ter be­ing spurned by Moore, Chloe casts her eyes to­wards the cou­ple’s son, the creepi­ness sets the pulse racing.

But this is a dis­hon­est piece of work. If it starred Sandy Boun­cyBouncy and was di­rected by Dirk McSleazy, it would never even be men­tioned in the pages of The Ir­ish Times. Seek out Ex­otic Re­ver­sal in­stead. You’ll find it on the bot­tom shelf.

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