Dir. Atom Egoyan
Catherine (Julianne Moore) suspects her husband David (Liam Neeson) of having an affair with one of his students that he lectures. She concocts a plan to lure his flirtatious nature into substantial evidence by hiring Chloe (Amanda Seyfried – Big Love), a skilled call girl to go undercover and tempt his interests. The love triangle gets out of hand and the web of deception turns pear-shaped.
Penned by Erin Cressida Wilson (who wrote Secretary), directed by Atom Egoyan (Sweet Hereafter) and produced by Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Twins, Up In The Air) i was intrigued to see how it would come out in the wash. Unfortunately i was somewhat disappointed. The narrative was missing something. I felt it was slightly too predictable and the characters perhaps too wooden. I think what actually occurred was that all of these notable filmmakers stale-mated each other. Wilson was not working in her most profitable genre of dark comedy and witty dialogue, as was Reitman who was moving into the uncharted terrain of arthouse/indie cinema. The only people who were performing in their comfort zone was Egoyan and his cast.
Normally Moore excels in these types of roles but she was not given ample material to shine. Neeson was rock solid as per usual but i feel that he was also restricted to get deeper into his character (or perhaps too deep, estranging the audience from sympathizing with him or her).
It was nice to see a film shot in Toronto for a change. Plus, within an affluent world of high culture and sophistication. I feel we rarely get to glimpse this culture out of the confines of fantastical genres such as James Bond and Superhero films. Realism rarely strays from the middle to low class. I often reminisce about the golden era of films set in high society that were so common in the 1940’s and ’50’s.
In closing i must mention another key character in the plot – the family house. A pillar of success and “perfection” in the characters eyes and providing a perfect stage for one such psychological investigation that this picture explores. It was great to see the cinematography being used with such innovation and preciseness, capitalizing on all of the environments used in the film.