This is a tantalizing, salacious melodrama about a jealous woman, Catherine Stewart (Julianne Moore) who suspects her husband of 25 years, David (Liam Neeson), of infidelity, so she hires a prostitute, Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), to make contact with him, tempt him, and report back to her. The consequences are unforeseen and devastating, with results that shock the hell out of Catherine and eventually threaten their son, Michael (Max Thieriot).
While it is directed by Adam Egoyan, with a script by Erin Cressida Wilson, it is actually based on the 2003 French film Nathalie, which was directed by Anne Fontaine and written by Jacques Fieschi from an original idea by Philippe Blasband, although the production notes for the film give no credit anywhere to those people or that film.
Seyfried shows that her lame performance in Mamma Mia (2008) was probably an aberration to be blamed on horrible casting and inept directing, because she is really creepy in this, as she is supposed to be. Exceptional performances by the four main characters produce an erotic tale that plays like a soap opera.
While this is a byzantine, titillating, well-acted, potent exploration of jealousy and desire, if you are a Liam Neeson fan, you might be disappointed. Even though he gives a typically fine, believable performance, this is the story of Catherine and Chloe. Neeson’s role is little more than a cameo. He couldn’t have been on the set for much more than a couple of days.
Even though Chloe’s creepiness is the raison d’être of the film, Moore’s is the performance that shines. She is in almost every scene and captures the essence of a jealous, suspicious wife, descending into a world she could not have contemplated.