Saturday, 13 March 2010
When movies don't know what to do with themselves, its a very frustrating thing. Chloe is essentially two 45 minute movies, one slightly less mediocre then the other, but both pretty passe and useless in the parlance of our times. If Chloe had been made in 1987, and starred one of Demi Moore, Madonna or Sharon Stone. There may have been a place for it. But as it is, its another movie where the spectre of sex tears a middle class family apart, and while my fairly intimidating descriptive skills made that sound kind of cool, believe me its not.
The problem here is that Chloe almost backs out of the movie it wanted to be, and the arc of Amanda Seyfried's title character pretty much defines this movie. She begins a relatively empowered girl, with a capitalist's attitude to sexuality but having at least a point of view and a sense of who she is. But around the half way mark, the film loses its shit entirely and decides that the sexually empowered girl must of course be crazy, as she forms a bunny boiling attachment to Juliane Moore and the film becomes a dumb erotic thriller that would have felt outdated in 1989, instead of A B student erotic drama that was headed toward an unspectacular 6/10. And director Atom Egoyan, who made the spectacular Where The Truth Lies, shrugs his way to a paycheck, and the film is entirely absent of his usual visual authority. Julianne Moore, in the middle aged every-woman lead role, doesn't get much of a chance to do anything really, with the possible exception of the one standard scene of emotional outpour, and Liam Neeson blunders around, clearly not belonging in this kind of thing and wishing he were in Taken 2. Seyfried, to whom this film matters more to then anybody, career wise, admirably tries create character, and does well in the early scenes, effectively selling Chloe's front of serene calm, but doesn't really know what to do once the penny drops, and continues to play the same character. Its a shame, because in a good movie she really could have done something with it.
Chloe's indie credibility goes a long way to mask its sheer genre generic-isms, and I was certainly fooled going into this film, expecting something far more insightful and on a simpler level, just a lot less stupid.