Sunday, February 10, 2013

Movie Review: Chloe

Viewing Advisory:
Chloe has been rated  R  by the Motion Picture Association of America.

During the past several weeks, as she's gone about her daily routine, Dr. Catherine Stewart has occasionally found herself crossing the path of an attractive young woman named Chloe. At first, she believes the girl might be one of the young executives who works in an office near the building that houses her medical practice. But over the period of a month or so, as Catherine repeatedly notices Chloe in the company of this man or that couple, she comes to the conclusion that the young woman is quite likely a high class call girl.

Catherine is also discovering something about her own life. After slightly more than two decades of marriage, the woman is no longer certain about her feelings towards her husband. While she knows that she loves the man, Catherine has taken a look around her and come to the conclusion that she may no longer like him.

A part of the problem is that David tends to flirt with pretty young women. The waitress at a restaurant. The hostess at a bar. The sales girl at a department store. While he claims he's only being friendly, Catherine has begun to consider the notion that he might be having an affair. Too many odd little bits and pieces keep lining up in a pattern which points towards that direction. On line computer chats that seem to end just after she's walked into his office. Rather odd and possibly intimate messages that pop up on his cell phone.

Needing to make a decision about her own relationship, and having little concrete information to base it on, Catherine approaches Chloe with an offer. She'll pay the girl to initiate an encounter with David and then tell her what his response is.

When Chloe reports back that David noticed her but he seemed preoccupied with other matters, Catherine grits her teeth and asks Chloe to give it one more try. The second time around, Chloe informs Catherine that David allowed himself to have a conversation with her the that afternoon. Except that it didn't simply end with the two of them talking. After several minutes of coffee and mild flirtation, David asked Chloe if he could give her a kiss.

Very angry with David, but highly curious about what he might be up to, Catherine urges Chloe to take the situation to a third encounter … and then a fourth … and then beyond. As the situation progresses, Chloe increasingly appears troubled by what she and Catherine are doing. She explains that her bad feelings have little to do with the fact that she's having an affair with David. Spending time with a married man is one of the corner stones of her profession. What feels very wrong to Chloe is that she's collecting money from Catherine and then coming back to her with troubling news. Isn't it supposed to be her job to make things better?

Even though she now has a third party confirmation of her husband's willingness to be unfaithful, Catherine finds herself reluctant to pull apart this unusual triangle that has gradually been evolving. In an odd sort of way, Chloe feels very much like a trusted friend. The nature of what has developed between these two women is quite intense and strangely erotic.

Each time Chloe recounts her most recent encounter with David, Catherine finds herself experiencing a vicarious form of sensual excitement. This girl has somehow become the surrogate Catherine uses for the purpose of exploring the stranger she's been married to for more than twenty years. Chloe talks to Catherine and comforts the woman as she does so. The two of them occasionally touch or embrace. Every part of what is evolving feels both good and frightening.

“I have something I need to tell you,” Chloe finally says, during an unexpected phone call to Catherine's office. “But I'm not sure you'll want to hear it.”

“What?” Catherine asks.

“This afternoon, when David and I were together, he said that when he's with you … he feels like he's cheating on me.”

What Chloe has just told Catherine is utterly devastating. The woman immediately finds herself wanting to lash out at David. To mash the cheating jackass into the ground in each and every possibly way. Now she just needs to find the right plan for doing so.

The screenplay for “Chloe” was written by Erin Cressida Wilson and is based on the 2003 French motion picture “Nathalie”. What Wilson brings to the story is a clear understanding that doing business with a prostitute is very much like asking a fortune teller for advice. The individual in each profession is well practiced at providing the client with the perfect minimum degree of true information.

Just the right amount to wet an individual's palate.

Not quite enough to satisfy their thirst.

Always keep them wanting to make use of your services again.

In the hands of a less sophisticated director, an intricate story like “Chloe” could easily have devolved into an incoherent mess. What keeps the motion picture sharp and focused it Atom Egoyan's perfect understanding of how to set the pace for an exciting tale and when to reveal important details. Show something too soon and you give away an important surprise. Hold information back for too long and the viewer loses interest in what's happening.

“Chloe” is the true representation of the Suspense Thriller genre. There are no gunfights … no screaming car chases … no bombs that are threatening to explode at any moment. Every ounce of the tension is caused by the interaction between everyday human beings. Flawed individuals who have overlapping needs and often operate from conflicting agendas.
Even though she's being paid for her services, Chloe can't really be depended on to do what's best for Catherine. All a client should ever be certain of is that someone like Chloe will do what she believes is best for herself.

Travis Clemmons

No comments:

Post a Comment