Boasting a stellar line-up, 'Chloe', based on the 2003 French film 'Nathalie', promises much in large parts but ultimately never delivers.
Catherine Stewart (Moore) is a successful doctor but an unhappy wife to her college lecturer husband David (Neeson) and a rebuffed mother to teenage son Michael (Thieriot). When David misses his flight and subsequently a surprise birthday party Catherine's suspicions are aroused. A misinterpreted text message from one of his students and a flirtatious attitude only serve to compound suspicions that David is cheating on her. After initially meeting high-class prostitute Chloe (Seyfried) by accident, Catherine decides to use Chloe to tempt David into infidelity and so know for sure whether he is playing away from home with any young, fit twentysomething that comes his way.
Chloe is only too happy to take up the job. Reporting back to Catherine every explicit detail, there is a sudden shift in power between them, as Chloe seems to go above and beyond the call of duty, along the way befriending impressionable, heartbroken son Michael. Before long all of the Stewart family are drawn into Catherine and Chloe's web of deceit.
Unfortunately, 'Chloe' hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons last year, when Natasha Richardson died tragically following a skiing accident while husband Liam Neeson was making this film. Returning just days after the funeral, Neeson rather heroically wrapped up filming in just two days. Although beautifully shot and at times compelling, 'Chloe' is unfortunately let down badly by a distinctly rushed ending that takes the gloss off an entertaining, if not somewhat far-fetched story.
Part-film noir, part-erotic thriller, it moves along at a measured pace and benefits greatly from credible, composed performances from its trio of stars. Of the three, Neeson's role is the most peripheral, as Julianne Moore's character of a neurotic, mistrustful wife comes to the fore. Moore bares all for the role and gives an assured performance, which is mostly equalled by Amanda Seyfried's femme fatale portrayal of Chloe. What Seyfried can't do anything about, however, is the trite treatment afforded to her character.
No explanations are offered for Chloe's decision to be an escort nor are any reasons given for her motives throughout the film. You could get away with this for a supporting role, but for a central character it rings hollow. Twists, when they come, are predictable but such is the quality of the acting and cinematography that the audience is still roped into this 'Fatal Attraction'-meets-'The Hand That Rocks the Cradle'-type thriller. The ending, however, severely disappoints and turns the film into a much slighter affair than had previously been imagined.
On a superficial level 'Chloe' is a film which succeeds in many places. But for a film in which infidelity is the main theme, such a feeble, flung-together finale means that Julianne Moore might not be the only one left feeling cheated.