IN THE STATES, the erotic thriller genre is a child of the '90s. The most memorable entries—Poison Ivy, Basic Instinct, Crash—were released in the decade that introduced us to Monica Lewinsky, Nirvana, and the World Wide Web. Though Chloe director Atom Egoyan is Canadian, it's fitting that he should turn to the much-sexier country of France for Chloe's inspiration, simply remaking 2003's Nathalie.... And yet the result takes you right back in time to the spare modern elegance of Catherine Tramell's décor aesthetic, with a young, dangerous, flaxen-haired vixen (Amanda Seyfried, valiantly substituting for Drew Barrymore), and you wind up with a very familiar-feeling car crash of a film.
Julianne Moore is Catherine Stewart, a beautiful but aging wife who suspects her handsome and flirtatious husband David (Liam Neeson) is cheating. So she does the sensible thing and hires nubile prostitute Chloe (Seyfried) to dangle herself in front of him to see what he'll do. But when Chloe reports back all the scintillating details, Catherine discovers that it kinda turns her on, and things quickly spiral out of control with the increasingly, inexplicably psycho Chloe. (Most sympathetic moment: Chloe glances at Prada-clad Catherine's designer shoe collection and immediately reaches orgasm.) It all ends in broken glass, ambivalent smiles, and a final climax of nostalgic, laugh-out-loud melodrama. Some (terrible) things never change.