by Zoe Shapiro

Atom Egoyan knows Toronto and he knows sexy. ‘Chloe’ is a visual stunner, and emotionally engaging, but the whole movie might be less than the sum of its parts.

‘Chloe’ follows the groomed and gorgeous Julianne Moore as a Yorkville ObGyn who suspects her music professor husband (Liam Neeson) of cheating. She puts Chloe, an angelic young hooker (Amanda Seyfried, working those big eyes and lush locks), in temptation’s way with instructions to report back. More than the myriad of sex scenes in the film, it is Chloe’s provocative and purposeful descriptions of the dalliances that are meant to titillate and arouse. Which they do… before things begin to go awry.

Toronto has never been caught on film so artfully and with such sensuality. The city becomes a mature and deliberate version of herself under Egoyan’s aesthetic eye, instead of a transient version of Boston or New York or Toronto itself. The performances, particularly Moore’s, make the material noir-ish and sexy instead of tawdry and trite.

The emphasis of ‘Chloe’ however, seems to be in capturing a feeling, a moment in the city, or glimpsing a suggestive scene. While I left the cinema successfully seduced (and mentally transforming my plain black opaques into delicately patterned violet tights), upon further reflection, something felt missing. Perhaps I had been so dazzled by the style that I failed to question the substance; the plot holes and missed opportunities that exist in ‘Chloe.’ The focus is on flesh – not fleshing out the story.

However you size up this movie, though, there is no questioning ‘Chloe’s’ style and sex appeal. In Egoyan’s practiced hands he lifts that style to art and the sex to a luscious version of lust. Executed this effectively, despite its problems, ‘Chloe’ is a worthy watch.