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The Auteurs Daily: Toronto. Chloe

The Auteurs Daily

Chloe

"These days, I'm not convinced Atom Egoyan could even get The Sweet Hereafter right," writes Tom Carson for GQ, "and since that's still the directing credit his festival bios tout a dozen years later, it's fair to say his recent output hasn't been a succession of triumphs. After the botched Where the Truth Lies and the fumbling Adoration, the Toronto programmers who haven't stopped casting him as Canada's gift to world cinema may be privately wishing they'd anointed Cronenberg or Guy Maddin instead. Chloe would benefit from either one's sense of absurdity."

"Part film noir, part unintentional B-movie parody, Atom Egoyan's Chloe is a weirdly compelling expansion of the themes permeating the director's work," writes Eric Kohn at indieWIRE. "Marred by an uneven screenplay, numerous implausibility issues and oddly dry, moody performances, it nevertheless maintains a basic guilty pleasure charm."

"Long-term Egoyan admirers will detect echoes of Exotica and The Adjuster in this tale of twisted desire and the manipulation of trust, but are bound to feel disappointed when it descends into all too predictable Fatal Attraction territory," writes Allan Hunter in Screen.

"Sexual suspicion and game-playing spiral down from the exotically intriguing to outright silliness in Chloe," writes Variety's Todd McCarthy. "Egoyan, who earlier in his career explored wayward sexuality with an insinuating exactitude, holds viewer interest for a while in this tale of marital stress, but then allows the plot to spin way over the top and, literally, out the window."

"Playing another in a long succession of suffering housewives, Julianne Moore thinks her husband (Liam Neeson) has been unfaithful, so she hires a prostitute (Amanda Seyfried) to seduce him in order to confirm her suspicions," explains Scott Tobias at the AV Club. "The prostitute then gives Moore the florid details of their encounters - a ritual that's complicated in very Egoyan-y ways, with elements of sadness, voyeurism, and an unexpected erotic charge between the two women. Egoyan classes up the material as best he can, but it's basically lipstick on a pig; when Chloe inevitably careens into 'sexy thriller' territory, Egoyan's austerity only serves to make it more ridiculous."



In the Hollywood Reporter, Michael Rechtshaffen is bullish on Chloe's prospects, arguing that this "cleverly constructed film manages the neat feat of containing all ingredients of a potential hit while remaining true to Egoyan's body of work."

Movieline's ST VanAirsdale goes further, arguing that this is "an engrossing, suspenseful, brilliantly acted melodrama loaded with surprises and risks.... Moore and Seyfried leap together into Chloe's whirlpool of hysteria and manipulation without life vests, their rendezvous revealing more and more until all that's left to discover is how the other is in bed - which may have been all one (or both) of them wanted in the first place. Moreover, Chloe is kind of fun."

That's the angle Julian Sancton goes for as well, in Vanity Fair: "Having already watched Seyfried play fang-hockey with Megan Fox's demonic femme fatale in Jennifer's Body, Toronto audiences gripped their elbow rests as Seyfried upped the sapphic ante in Chloe, engaging in a sultry hotel-room romp with Julianne Moore.... Both movies depict women gravitating towards each other in a world where men seem to be little more than walking erections. And in both, the attraction resolves in violence.... [Chloe] might not be flashy enough to play wide. But if it does, Egoyan will find a lot of unlikely fans among teenage boys."

Update, 9/29: "Under ordinary circumstances, this guff would merely be forgettable," writes Mike D'Angelo at Not Coming to a Theater Near You. "With Egoyan's name attached, it becomes actively depressing."

Update, 9/22: A chat at Reverse Shot.

TIFF 09: Index; full coverage; lineup.

 

What scathing reviews this is getting! Personally Adoration is my favorite film of this year. Sure it is no Sweet Hereafter, but it’s awfully close. I’ve seen the original film (Nathalie…) and can’t wait to see the remake (Chloe). Hopefully, it’s not as atrocious as you say, but I will take my chances.

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