In the lead up to the 7th Canadian Film Festival in Australia (August 2012), join us as we countdown the Top 100 Canadian Films of the past 30 years. We'll be posting one film a day leading up to Canada Day on July 1st 2012. Do you agree with our staff favourites? Let us know your thoughts!
#61 - Chloe
Lust, lies, and betrayal all come to a head in Atom Egoyan’s erotic thriller Chloe (an adaptation of the 2004 French film Nathalie), exploring how suspicion and mistrust can lead to dire consequences and tear a seemingly perfect family apart.
Catherine, played by the always exquisite Julianne Moore, is a successful gynecologist, married to a film professor, David, who often travels for conferences and spends most of his spare time flirting with his young female students, much to his lonely wife’s chagrin. Enter Chloe, the young, beautiful escort Catherine hires to spy on her husband. At first she asks Chloe only to “present herself” as a temptation to David; but soon, their debriefings start to hit a nerve as Chloe explicitly tells Catherine all of the sordid details of her sexual encounters with David, setting off a web of betrayal that infects the entire family, including Catherine and David’s teenage son, Michael.
Filmed entirely in Toronto, the film gorgeously captures the stunning cityscape in all of its chilly, wintry glory, and makes use of several famous landmarks, including Allan Gardens and Cafe Diplomatico. Egoyan’s signature filmmaking style shows through in elegantly composed shots that fittingly portray the sensual undercurrent permeating the film. The visual beauty is hauntingly ironic as it contrasts with the emotional hurt and damage of the narrative.
The cast is spot-on, with Julianne Moore as the painfully fragile Catherine, Liam Neeson as David, with a charm that is both beguiling and earnest, and Amanda Seyfried as the doe-eyed yet deceptive escort. At times the characters’ motivations are unclear or unfounded, and the symbolism is too attention-seeking for my personal taste. Chloe succeeds with flying colors, however, as an alluring, guilty pleasure film that is deliciously engaging and wonderfully unreliable, testing the viewer’s own morals and confidence in the truth that is hidden underneath the deviance and mistrust.
- Pamela Galbraith
Chloe had its Australian premiere at the Opening Night of the 5th Possible Worlds Film Festival in 2010.
“Egoyan never makes a story with one level. He never reveals all of the motives, especially to his characters. He invites us to be voyeurs of surfaces that may not conceal what they seem.” Roger Ebert - The Chicago-Sun Times
To see the other films in the countdown so far, click here.