April 10, 2010

Taking It Too Far

I am shocked! I am appalled! I am enraged! Now, look. No one enjoys a sex thriller more then me. Your brain gets teased, you see some good performances, and some lovely ladies usually shed their clothes, which is only icing on the cake. Films like Fatal Attraction and Unfaithful are stalwart examples of the genre. It's been awhile since we've had a good one though. The new film, Chloe, seeks to fill the void. Now, not only does Chloe fail at filling that void, it also fails as a movie, just in general. Here is a film, so pointless and stupid, that not even the most overly generous of critic will be able to find something to like. This critic does not consider himself to be overly generous. This is going to be fun!

Chloe begins with a wife, a husband, and missed flight. The wife, Catherine, is throwing a surprise birthday party for her husband, David. David misses his flight home, and Catherine, being the level headed person she is, immediately assumes he's cheating on her. Granted, she does have some pretty hard evidence to the fact, a suspicious text for one. So, in a scheme so ridiculous it crosses the line of insane, Catherine hires a call girl, Chloe, to approach David and see what he does, in order to confirm her suspicions. BIG MISTAKE!! Soon the lives of all three of these philandering fucks are spinning out of control and they will never be the same and, OH GOD, I don't care! The film is based of a European film entitled, Nathalie, and it's clear that no effort was made to make this version interesting in any way. The story just builds to the much touted about sex scene between Catherine and Chloe (oops, spoilers), and decides to coast the rest of the way. It's boring as hell, and not entertaining in the least.

Years from now, Chloe will be the textbook example of really good actors, reduced to speaking terrible dialogue, turning in bone dry performances, and shedding their clothes for a paycheck. Julianne Moore is Catherine. It seemed to me that she was channelling Kristen Stewart in this one. She spends almost all the film in some form of hysteria, accusatory manner, or in the "ohgodmylifesuckswhywon'tanyonehelpme" mode. It's a dumb performance, and it will be forgotten as soon as you leave the theatre. Ditto for Liam Neeson, who plays David. Neeson's been doing a lot of schlock as of late. He's in this, Clash of the Titans, and the absurd looking After.Life. Like Titans, he totally phones this one in. You can tell he's not inspired by the material, and, as such, didn't try at all to make his performance special. I want the old Liam Neeson back! Finally, we have Amanda Seyfried as the title character, Chloe. As the seductive whore, Seyfried spends a good amount of time naked, and in that sense, she's a marvel; Seyfried is one of the hottest actresses working today. In all other fields, she's a marvel alright, but only because she is so epically bad! Most of her dialogue is pretty explicit descriptions of her encounters with David, but she is so monotone during these sections you start to wonder if a robot is talking. I did not buy her character arc at all, and in case you're wondering, yes, the character arc of the lead does matter! Look, we all know these actors can turn in fantastic performances. The real culprit here is the script, but, these actors are so good that they can usually take a terrible script and turn it into something somewhat watchable. They don't here, and it is aggravating as all holy hell!

Chloe is a sex thriller. A lot of emphasis was put on the 'sex' aspect of the film; almost none was put on the 'thriller' aspect. This is very titillating movie, but not an interesting or exciting one. Director Atom Egoyan is totally lost here, doing nothing to heighten tension during scenes of confrontation, and poorly handling the ridiculous plot shifts. This movie is all over the place! Character's motivations change, seemingly, mid-scene; plot twists come out of nowhere and make no sense; and the sex scenes are unnecessary and pointless. The first thing, literally, the very first thing you see when the movie starts, are Amanda Seyfried's breasts. No reason at all, doesn't further the plot or reveal anything about the character, they're just there because they can be. It doesn't end there. There's a scene where Moore uses a shower head to, ummm... relax, that serves even less of a purpose as the scene previously mentioned. This would be fine if the dialogue was even close to decent, but it's not. These are supposed to be smart and well read people, but the way they talk sounds so juvenile. They use the simplest syntax, and it's not absorbing at all! You don't feel anything for the characters; you even start to root against them. I actually wanted bad things to happen to Catherine, because I couldn't empathize with her. Her entire ordeal is thanks to one astounding instance of overreacting, and I left the theatre thinking she deserved every grueling second of it!

People will no doubt say I'm being too hard on this movie. Maybe I am, but I don't care. I haven't felt this inclined to ask for my ten dollars back after leaving a movie as I did with Chloe in a long time. Sure, there are some sexy scenes here an there, but in the age of the World Wide Web, it's nothing you can't find online for free. I haven't graded a film with and F in a long time, but Chloe deserves it. This movie is pointless, stupid, and, above all, aggravating. It has no business even existing! F


  1. Damn...bit harsh. It's at least good for MST3000 mocking.

  2. Damn...bit harsh. It's at least good for MST3000 mocking.