herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Films: Chloe * *

Feeling cheated

An erotic thriller that's neither sexy nor thrilling, writes Brenda McCormick

(thriller. Starring Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried and Max Thieriot. Directed by Atom Egoyan. cert 16)

A remake of french thriller Nathalie, Chloe stars Amanda Seyfried as the high-class prostitute of the title. She seems to be good at her job, explaining how it requires skill to become whoever the client wants, and she tries to find something to love in every one of them.

Through a chance encounter she meets Catherine (Julianne Moore), who figures out what she does for a living and seeks her out with a proposition. Catherine, a gynaecologist, is married to David (Liam Neeson), a handsome and charming college professor.

They live, along with their teenage son, in one of the those perfect movie houses, all glass and sharp angles (to let us know, despite appearances, there's no real warmth left in their relationship). When David misses a flight home, in turn missing a 'surprise' party Catherine organised for him, she becomes suspicious.

Assuming that David is cheating, she hires Chloe to be a honey trap. She doesn't want her to seduce David, but she wants her to come onto him and see where it goes from there.

Chloe is to report back to her with news on how David responds, which she does, and while Catherine probably doesn't expect to get turned on by Chloe's tales of encounters with her husband, that's what happens.

Chloe is meant to be a sexy thriller, playing on the ideas of trust and honesty, but instead it's cold and lacking depth. Catherine is the only character that seems to be fully formed.

Chloe is obviously a damaged soul but we never learn her story, and Neeson mostly wanders around patronising his wife and being charming to waitresses and students.

As for stroppy teen Michael, the poor guy has 'plot device' stamped on his forehead.

Somewhere in here there was a good film on relationships. Catherine's despair at getting older (daft really, since Moore is still gorgeous) and her fears that her husband, improving with age, is becoming a stranger are sidelined in favour of an 'erotic' thriller that is neither all that sexy nor thrilling.

The three leads do their best with what they've been given and Seyfried will get noticed for this role, but I was left wondering why Moore and Neeson signed up for this at all. HHIII

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