|Genre(s): Drama / Romance|
|Fox || R - 124 minutes - $14.98 || December 17, 2002|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2004-09-04|
Writer(s): Alvin Sargent (screenplay) and William Broyles Jr. (screenplay)
Cast: Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Olivier Martinez
Theatrical Release Date: May 10, 2002
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I actually enjoyed this viewing a little more than in the theater. It gained some emotional impact and still looks great. The acting is underrated although Diane Lane has been receiving some buzz for an Oscar nomination for her performance. Other than that, my thoughts remain basically the same. I raised my rating from 3.5 to 4. It most likely will make my initial list of favorites of 2002.
There are some movies that just cannot be categorized; Unfaithful is one of those films. It has many messages and themes flow through it making it somewhat tough to pin down. If you want a reference point, watch In the Bedroom.
Edward Sumner (Gere) is a happily married man, with a son and beautiful wife Connie (Lane) and makes his living as the owner of an armored van company. From what I saw of the Sumner household, they both seemed happy, they both seem to have a normal, healthy 8-year-old son and they both seem content with life. Edward is a silly goof at times without looking too like a complete idiot while Connie takes care of the house in the mornings before putting together fundraisers and auctions during the day. All in all, it looks like the ideal family anyone would want.
One day Connie, shopping for her son's ninth birthday, gets caught in a major windstorm and accidentally runs, literally, into Paul Martel (Martinez), a handsome book dealer. He invites her to his apartment to clean her wounds and before you know it, trip after trip back to his place, Connie is having a full-fledged affair with this Frenchman.
The two leads are splendid. Richard Gere after playing the guy who sweeps women off their feet for so many years is the one getting the wool pulled over his eyes. I am not a fan of Gere and have only enjoyed a few of his films, however, here he is a charming and sympathetic character that one can root for despite how we feel about his actions.
Opposite Gere is the lovely and beautiful Diane Lane, who is one of the most underrated actresses working today. She has put forth great performances in the past including for The Perfect Storm, but nothing comes close to her role in this movie. Although it is early in the year (something against her) she deserves at least a Golden Globe nomination next year because so far I have not seen a better performance from an actress this year.
The part of handsome man Paul Martel was played by Olivier Martinez, a real Frenchman (he was born in Paris) so we don't get some of these terrible accents from good actors who then pretend they did a good job. Looking over his filmography he has appeared in only one film I recognize, Before Night Falls while the rest are French films dating back to 1990. Martinez's character was not overly convincing as I think the screenplay wanted him to be, but he does what it took to keep it going- a vital component in a screenplay like this.
Adrian Lyne, the director of such sultry and/or seductive flicks as Flashdance, Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal and 1997's Lolita. He has had his share of controversy concerning Lolita but here he remains quite honest and keeps the love scenes as a part of the plot rather than something to entice the audience, so to speak. His direction in Unfaithful is slow at times just leading the viewer along at a nice methodical pace but then gaining speed toward the finale like in any good play. He also doesn't succumb to the cliché's of affair- related movies and gives us one surprise after another.
Director Lyne could not succeed without screenwriters Alvin Sargent and William Boryles Jr. (with help from Claude Chabrol who wrote La Femme Infidele which this movie is based on). The duo helps string along the audience and stays away from typical script flaws and traps and instead just go back to telling a story and let the story evolve rather than throwing in some quirky scene to confuse the audience. No, this film is clear and it is concise. They let the audience decide for themselves the fate of the characters rather than a solid ending we Americans love to hate.
Overall, Unfaithful was surprisingly a good movie because of Richard Gere and, especially, Diane Lane. The two, with director Lyne, carry the film beyond the typical boundaries of the affair drama into a new realm that I would think many would find enjoyable and fascinating.
The DVD offers an interesting feature length commentary from director Adrian Lyne. He spouts throughout the film about the amazing actors or his direction to actress Diane Lane during an intense sex scene and so on. He gives some insight on lighting and using smoke in certain scenes to tone down the lights. He tells us which scenes he cut down and why. Because he's alone it does get a bit dry so a beware.
Next are several scene specific commentaries from Diane Lane and Olivier Martinez. I enjoyed Lane's a bit more but overall they were your typcial scene-specific commentaries, although it's better than nothing.
Some of the deleted scenes are interesting including a look at an alternate ending in which we learn of the Richard Gere character's choice but in the end I like the original, much more effective. Other deleted scenes included an extended scene that was used in a montage and another where the detective calls Diane Lane in to get her fingerprints. These scenes were rightly left out because frankly they would've taken the emotional impact out of the final work.
The other special features are the typical stuff such as a behind-the-scenes featurette, interviews with the main actors, Charlie Rose's interview with Gere, Lane and Lyne and director's script notes. The notes here include some thoughts on how he should shoot certain scenes, what lines should be omitted and the such. It's actually fascinating to see the changes made in a screenplay compared to final product. The last two are the trailer (a good one, actually) and a teaser trailer for Daredevil.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Both of these were perfect. I will focus on the sound for this DVD because of Jan A.P. Kaczmarek's beautiful score. Along with Lyne's direction and the screenwriting, the film looks wonderful also.
I really enjoyed this DVD set. The movie is very underrated and deserves more attention than it has gotten thus far. The commentary from Adrian Lyne is pretty good and the deleted scenes are fun to look at too.