Unfaithful

January 28, 2012 10 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Adrian Lyne, better-known for his steamier movies of the 80’s and early 90’s is at it again. Except this time it’s not I, about a steelworker pining to become a ballet dancer. It’s not Fatal Attraction, but rather a form of it, minus the bunny, of course. And it’s not Indecent Proposal in which money is the thing that sets a couple apart. Yet Unfaithful is just that, not faithful to the type of movie we think we’re about to expect as the characters aren’t faithful to each other. Just look at the box art to see what I mean. Connie (Diane Lane) and her husband, Charlie (Richard Gere) seem to be happy together. They live in the prominent Westchester County, a suburb of a suburb of New York City. Their child appears to be doing well at school and, all things considered, there’s nothing really wrong with the picture the filmmakers have painted. This all changes, or starts to, when Connie literally lands on an unsuspecting young man by the name of Paul Martel (Oliver Martinez). Paul, looking like an underwear model, but with the brains of a "bookworm" escorts Connie up to his apartment for a cup of tea and some band-aids. Connie suspects that nothing is the matter. But instead of coming onto her as if in some bar, he simply gives her a book and sends her on her way back to the suburbs.

Connie can’t seem to get Paul out of her head, though. She thinks of plenty of excuses to go see him and finally sells herself on one that she thinks he will buy. Mind you, there’s no hint of things wrong with the relationship between her and Charlie; aside from the fact that maybe the double digit years of marriage are starting to get to her. (In a "cheat sheet" that Fox included with this DVD, this is one of the three reasons that married women cheat on their husbands, the monogamy of marriage). She doesn’t seem to know what she’s doing, yet when they finally meet up, he asks her to hit him, though she does, it sets in motion a slew of sex that she won’t soon forget. From this moment on, she’s taken with him and plenty of intercourse ensues. Whether it’s in a movie theater, alleys or restrooms, she has found something that has been missing in her life. This brings us to Charlie, though a hard worker, he senses that something might be wrong; though there are no visible signs. He sends a friend to follow her and take some pictures and soon enough his suspicions are confirmed.

Now this is where the movie could take a turn into eye-rolling territory, where we see a jealous husband and the person that the wife is having an affiar with is really a psycho (see A Perfect Murder for that). But this is where the movie is thoughtful and clever. Naturally I don’t want to say what happens in the last 1/3 of the movie, but let’s just say that it’s worth the wait. Now let’s talk Diane Lane. This was the movie that was supposed to make her a "Superstar", like she wasn’t already. Lane, an accomplished actress for almost 20 years has finally taken a role that got her some attention. If you’re a fan of Lane’s body, well this is the movie to see all sorts of skin (both male and female) and that alone might warrant a purchase of the DVD. Only kidding, of course. Unfaithful is loaded with extras and the story kept me interested until the closing credits (ironically enough, there’s an alternate ending included on the DVD). A change of pace for movies of this genre (I’ll call it a Suspense Thriller), and not that bad; no matter what your preconceived notions might be. It’s worth a look.

Video: How does it look?

As most of Lyne’s movies are filmed in a 1.85:1 ratio, this is no exception. The look and feel of the movie is framed well, and I can’t imagine any extra information being added could add any more tension to the film. As Fox is usually known for their better transfers, this is certainly no exception. Colors seem to be a bit muted throughout the movie, and the palette used is a bit dull. This is certainly no fault of the transfer, as the level of detail is excellent. Edge enhancement is not a factor at all, and the flesh tones, while muted as well, appear natural when you take into account the different moods of the movie. All in all, it’s a great effort from Fox and while not perfect, this looks great.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio, not really expected to be much of a factor, does hold it’s own as well. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack has moments where the depth takes over and really sets the mood for the scene. Though somewhat subdued during a majority of the film, the surround effects are present at the key times. Dialogue, as can be expected, doesn’t suffer in the least. While I would say that this is more of a good Pro-Logic mix, there’s a portion of the movie that relies heavily on the soundtrack (I won’t say which part though). Again, just like the video, this exceeded my expectations and I was very satisfied with the track.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Fox has put together a pretty good disc here that starts out with a commentary track from Director Adrian Lyne. Lyne is no stranger to commentaries, after offering one up for Indecent Proposal and Fatal Attraction. He talks candidly of the subject matter and obviously has a strong feeling about the film and the material within. Also included is an actor’s commentary by Diane Lane and Oliver Martinez. I do have to say, though, that they only offer up parts for eleven key points in the film (and I can’t even list them without giving away a key point in the movie, so don’t look here before you watch the movie). Still, it’s nice to hear the leads talk about the movie in which they starred (where was Gere)? Eleven deleted scenes are included with an audio introduction by Lyne himself. The scenes, cut for length, don’t add a whole lot to the movie as I felt it stood pretty well on it’s own. They are available with optional commentary and shown in anamorphic widescreen. Next up is a featurette entitled "An Affair to Remember: On the set of Unfaithful" in which Lyne talks about the film’s origins (it was inspired by a 1969 movie entitled La Femme Infidele), but aside from this, it’s what we’ve come to expect from behind the scenes featurettes. Entertaining.

"Anne Coats on Editing" is up next and this talks about, obviously, the nature of how a movie is edited. Coates, a very experienced editor, tells of how she decides on how to edit a movie and now that I think of it, Unfaithful did have some interesting cuts. Even the menus of the DVD are interesting. An interview with Adrian Lyne, Diane Lane and Richard Gere are shown on the Charlie Rose show (which seems to be popping up on a lot of DVD’s recently). If you missed the interview while on air, and I did, this is a chance to get caught up. Next up are some interviews with the main three stars of the film, Gere, Lane and Martinez. Telling us what we now know, they’re interesting, but set against a black backdrop that makes them sort of blend into the background a bit. In a rather interesting feature, the Director’s Script Notes are shown in sort of a gallery format. While using the arrow keys to guide yourself along the way, we can see some of his thoughts and how the movie ended up as it did. Lastly, a theatrical trailer is included. All in all, it’s a great movie, suspensful and exciting. Fox has offered up a nice little Special Edition as well to entice any who were not already. Recommended.

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