In English remakes of foreign films, a lot can get lost in translation, like nuance, atmosphere or provocative point of view. With this erotic drama, Canadian Egoyan mostly improves on the French original, Anne Fontaine’s subdued 2003 melodrama Nathalie. Moore delivers a more full-blooded performance than Fanny Ardant in the role of a glamorous obstetrician who, looking for proof that her husband (Neeson) is unfaithful, hires call girl Chloe (Seyfried, more voluptuous than Emmanuelle Béart) to entrap him. But as the two women meet repeatedly for seduction progress reports, it’s the wife who gradually becomes ensnared.
Egoyan’s version increases the domestic tension, giving Moore a greater canvas for her character’s emotions. Her son (Thieriot) is a surly teenager whose nascent sexuality echoes her sensual reawakening. He also serves as a danger magnet when screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary) takes the story into Fatal Attraction territory.
The material dovetails with the filmmaker’s careerlong preoccupation with voyeurism, particularly video (Moore spies on Thieriot as his girlfriend dumps him via webcam). Although sharing Hitchcock’s clinical detachment from his characters, Egoyan has made his most graphically sexual film yet. The combustion owes much to the female leads, but give Toronto credit as backdrop; its clean lines and winter light provide exquisite counterpoint to the hothouse grappling. After decades of standing in for other cities onscreen, this world-class metropolis shows it’s ready for its close-up.