Atom Egoyan's Chloe is posh, cool, and never less than obvious. Work for hire, the movie was adapted by Erin Cressida Wilson from Anne Fontaine's marital thriller Nathalie..., a sophisticated Gallic shrug-fest hailed by some for featuring an adulterous triangle unimaginable in an American movie. Successful gynecologist Catherine (Julianne Moore) suspects, not without reason, that her husband, the distinguished professor David (Liam Neeson), is having affairs with his students; in lieu of a detective, she hires the fresh-faced young hooker who calls herself Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) to entrap him. Before long, the enigmatic child is giving Catherine a detailed account of her relations with David. The story doesn't make much sense, but the client is turned on, Moore miming arousal with the wide-eyed passion of a silent-movie queen. Asked by Catherine how she does her job, Chloe explains that she tries "to find something to love in everybody." I take that as a message to the critic. Egoyan seems to have accepted this assignment in the spirit of Douglas Sirk directing soft-core porn: Chloe puts quotation marks around its tantalizing nudity, caressing camera moves, and rhapsodic music. The grotesque finale aside, it's all too soigné to be truly risible, but, thanks to Egoyan's trademark mix of detachment and prurience, the fun is more cheesy than queasy.
Moore (right) and her agent Seyfried.
Opens at Metro and Meridian, Fri., March 26. Rated R. 99 minutes.