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Film Four Stars
There are a few strong reasons why Chloe leaps out at you when you first read about it. There's the director Atom Egoyan and the excellent acting talent of Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried leading the film.

Of course there's the obvious fact that you may well be seeing some sexual scenes between the two very sexy female leads, but that really is just the cheap attraction. The power lies in their two excellent performances and a strong story.

Plot.pngChloe.jpgAn idyllic, well off family seem secured for life. The wife is a doctor, the husband a tutor and the son a talented young man. However the wife has always had concerns about her husband's role where he is always connected with his students who are young and often rather attractive, and with him being far from the atypical looking tutor, her suspicions have always been there.

However when she arranges a surprise party for his birthday and he misses his flight home from his class, her suspicions rise to the surface. She thinks he's had an affair and that's why he misses the flight, and while she can't firmly pin anything on him, she decides to find out once and for all.

She hires an escort to try and seduce him and see if he is being unfaithful. She meets with the escort a number of times, coaching her in how to behave and how to seduce him, and she returns each time with descriptions of what has happened and how he has behaved.

As time goes on the liaisons become more and more serious, loyalty is conflicted, jealousy, envy and lust take over, and we soon see just how easy it is to stray.

TheFilm.pngJulianne Moore is one of my favourite actresses, and once again she proves why with a fantastically emotionally charged performance. She pulls in a broad range off emotions in her role and never seems to deliver anything too much, never overplaying the character despite the situations she finds herself in.

She moves from the perfect wife with everything under control to a paranoid and jealous lover, to a woman caught up in a revenge fuelled affair that she is fighting hard against not to consume her and her life. There's plenty of opportunity for anyone to over play that role but she captures it perfectly and really engages you throughout.

Another aspect of just how great an actress she is comes through in how she manages to capture the audience and make them connect with the character. I think it can be all too easy for the audience to be lost by the role where the character could be seen as making some very stupid choices against type and seemingly without motivation if her frame of mind wasn't presented well or you didn't understand her emotional state at the time.

There is a point though where the film lets the actress down, for it didn't do a good job of convincing me of some of the choices of the character. For instance her initial decision to hire the escort and her willingness to believe her over her husband from the outset can be a little hard to go with, and this isn't down to their performances, it's down to the story and the scenes we see of them together.

To be fair they aren't badly handled or totally avoided, they just didn't totally convince me and I felt a nagging doubt about them. Still it's once again the performance of Moore that takes me through these moments, seeing her distress and the slow unhinging of her character.

The real problem lay in the truth, and while Moore convinced us that her character was becoming more and more confused and uncertain by the truth of the events, the plot was transparent, in fact to me it felt crystal clear what was really going on. This undermined what Moore and her written character were trying to portray but her performance was always convincing me that she had no idea, and that was enough to keep me in the story.

It wasn't just Moore that gave an excellent performance, Amanda Seyfried was excellent and really surprised me, not only playing the sexual, sensual siren, but also the flips between sweet innocent and scheming psychopath. She gave a strong multi-layered performance and was utterly convincing throughout, at times genuinely mesmerising. She captured me from the beginning and at times I really did find myself drawn to her in a sexual sense.

Don't panic, I'm not a stalker (just of film!), however the scene where she verbally seduces Moore's character is something to behold and rather exciting for the viewer too. It's one of those genuinely erotic scenes where the word erotic is used correctly, not in some darker and cruder way.

It's at this point that I should make the point of turning off those in search of cheap thrills, oh there is a very sensuous sex scene and some equally sensual and sexually charged scenes between the two female leads, but the focus should be on the word sensual not on the idea of cheap thrills.

Some scenes are very sensual and rather erotic, but nothing goes too far and always keeps within the confines of the story, indeed compared to most films covering similar subject matter, this is really quite tame. It's not a film that relies on nudity and sexual moments, there's nothing like Basic Instinct going on here, the film keeps on the right side of sensuality and holds the viewer there too.

It's a shame that Liam Neeson doesn't get a chance too join in, acting wise that is, but then that's what his role is, and what we do see on screen of him is good, it's just that there's not that much. I don't think casting a lesser actor in the role would have worked though, and his few scenes were needed to build the character and the suspicion.

That said I feel that it was with this character where the problems with the plot came about. If we had more time with the character throughout the film and he was revisited as little more than he was then perhaps the plot would have felt a little more clouded and not so clear cut.

All this said about the transparent plot does not mean that I didn't enjoy the film, far from it. There's no doubt it could have been better, but it's still a very strong film and an enjoyable one for the two lead actresses alone.

Despite the plot being more transparent the closer you get to the end of the film it still does deliver some nice turns and managed to avoid some of the more standard pitfalls. In the final act there is a great deal of suspense and tension, which I did find a little surprising considering I had guessed the main plot thread.

Chloe is well filmed and edited, unobtrusively so, keeping you involved in the characters and the story.

Overall.pngChloe surprised me delivering a strong thriller that may have a main plot that you guess early on, but delivers some great suspense and tension in that final act.

Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried are both very strong and Moore gives one of her usually powerful performances. I do feel somewhat surprised by Seyfried and just how good she was, the often used tagline of electrifying or sexually charged does fit well here, but that does do her some injustice because her performance is much more than just about the sex.

Chloe is a great thriller with strong characters and performances and its more than worth capturing on rental.

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