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Chloe - Perverse romantic triangle delivers guilty pleasures

What should a wife do if she suspects her husband is cheating on her? Why, hire a gorgeous prostitute and get her to seduce him – that at least is the unusual course of action pursued by Julianne Moore’s worried wife in the erotic-triangle movie Chloe – a perversely unfaithful remake of the 2003 French movie Nathalie.

Moore’s Catherine is a chic Toronto gynaecologist who leads a seemingly idyllic life with her professor husband David (played by Liam Neeson). But Catherine is nagged by the anxiety that David is two-, three-, four-timing her with his students – her imagination knows no bounds.

To put her mind at ease, one way or another, she hires up-market call girl Chloe (played by Amanda Seyfried) to pose as a student, put David’s fidelity to the test, and then report back all the lurid details. As the experiment unfolds, however, this peculiar triangle develops all kinds of unexpected kinks…

Chloe - Liam Neeson & Julianne Moore star in Atom Egoyan’s erotic thriller

Directed by Canadian-Armenian director Atom Egoyan, Chloe starts off as an intriguing psychological drama – and then veers off into B-movie territory. After further twists and turns, the film ends up resembling the kind of straight-to-video erotic thriller that was churned out in the late 1980s and early 1990s in the wake of Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct.

French director Anne Fontaine’s Nathalie was by no means a classic, but it was teasing, clever and seductive without being particularly explicit. There was lots of steamy talk but little sex.

Chloe - Amanda Seyfried & Liam Neeson star in Atom Egoyan’s erotic thriller

Chloe goes much further, shedding whatever subtlety the original film had and ardently embracing the absurdities of its reworked plot.

Yet Moore and Neeson – in the roles first played by Fanny Ardant and Gérard Depardieu – are such classy actors that they can’t help but elevate the pulpy material. And Amanda Seyfried – so mousy in Jennifer’s Body, so sexy here  – does amazing things with an impossible character (played by Emmanuelle Béart in the original). Like the liaisons it depicts, Chloe is a guilty pleasure.

On general release from 5th March.

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.