Monday, July 26, 2010


I am a fan of many of Atom Egoyan's films (Adoration, Ararat, Felicia's Journey, and The Sweet Hereafter). In fact, I would say Adoration and The Sweet Hereafter are nearly perfect films. They dig beneath the surface of the emotional terrains of the films' inhabitants. Egoyan's films are tiring, heavy, difficult, and sometimes sloppy because they are working so hard to capture the reality, the strain, of living.

I had hoped Egoyan would capture this pain in Chloe. Julianne Moore (almost always perfect: A Single Man, Short Cuts, Magnolia, Far From Heaven, etc) plays a gynecologist. She is married to Liam Neeson (who looks quite attractive for the first time ever), a professor of music. Moore begins to suspect Neeson of having an affair. A chance encounter with Chloe (Amanada Seyfried), a prostitute, in a restaurant restroom presents Moore with the opportunity to discover if Neeson is capable of cheating.

Chloe is sent to flirt with Neeson. Moore has created the perfect trap. And, this is all very interesting. The inability to trust. The lack of honesty. The lack of dialogue in this marriage. And, then, the sex. The level of sex. The loss of sex. Such perfect themes waiting to be talked about and explored. But, Egoyan never digs. He plays all of these issues up front and shallow.

Moore is eventually turned into a house wife with no life. She stares out windows of her home, her office, and restaurants. She lacks all aspects of an individual. Neeson becomes background. A piece in Moore's game. Only Seyfried really takes on any depth in the film. But, even she falls flat. We're never fully made to understand her actions.

By films end, Seyfried has grown obsessed with Moore. After a bit of jealousy rages through Moore, she has a one night stand with Seyfried (the only slightly interesting scene in the film). From this event, a bisexual Fatal Attraction is born. And, quickly, the film looses all chance of gaining meaning, or depth. Egoyan is only creating a cheap thriller presented a little more classier.


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