More than just about any acclaimed filmmaker you could name, Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter) has a serious obsession with deep, dark, forbidden sexual longing. He fills his movies with it, yet when Egoyan makes a heavy-breather like Chloe, he doesn’t seem to realize that he’s drawn to kink and taboo in the same routinely voyeuristic way that a maker of straight-to-cable trash is. Egoyan simply jettisons the usual thriller boilerplate (chase scenes, etc.) and then stretches out everything else with arty indulgence.
In Chloe, Julianne Moore plays a Toronto physician who suspects her musicology professor husband (Liam Neeson) of cheating; she hires an angelic escort named Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) to seduce him and then report the details. Chloe proceeds to do this with a diligence so beyond the call of duty that we can’t help but wonder what’s up. Egoyan’s penchant for casting, and eroticizing, the starlet of the moment has begun to rival Woody Allen’s — here, he tries to turn Seyfried into a femme fatale, but she just comes off as a wholesome ingenue without layers. The film is Moore’s story, and she acts the hell out of one sexy scene, but most of Chloe is plodding and drab. We’re a step ahead of Egoyan’s tricks, and that’s because we’ve seen them — all of them — before. C