A/V Room









Unfaithful (15)

Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by Adrian Lyne.

ADRIAN Lyne has long been the king of the glossy sex drama, what with Fatal Attraction, 9½ Weeks, Indecent Proposal and Lolita to his name. So it should come as no surprise to hear that the director’s latest slice of infidelity centres around a happily-married pair of suburbanites whose seemingly idyllic existence is shattered by an affair.

Diane Lane plays the unfaithful partner in question, a woman whose unexpected encounter with Olivier Martinez’s mysterious French stranger on a windy New York street places a temptation in her path that she is unable to resist and which, ultimately, threatens her marriage to Richard Gere’s successful security specialist.

Loosely-based on French New Wave director Claude Chabrol’s 1968 movie La Femme Infidele, Unfaithful is a surprisingly sophisticated romantic potboiler, powered by some terrific performances and an intensity not usually associated with the in-yer-face, rip-your-clothes-off, crowd-pleasing histrionics of Lyne.

It is raunchy in places, of course, but never feels as voyeuristic as the coming together of Rourke and Basinger, or as desperate or shocking as the Douglas/Close close encounters - while its dark tone (Gere reportedly refused to accept a tacked-on ‘feelgood’ ending) lends it an air of superiority when compared to other, highly-stylised excuses for nudity.

And at the centre of it all is Lane’s blistering turn as the unfaithful Connie Sumner, for whom the affair marks a sexual reawakening and a chance to feel young again. The actress, who was featured on the cover of Time magazine at the age of 12, has largely been forced to play second fiddle in movies, but here seizes her opportunity with relish.

It is a performance of sizzling intensity and one which is sure to leave audiences divided as her obsession for the young French lover leads to the type of lies and deception which threaten to destroy the lives of everyone around her.

Gere, too, continues to show a newfound maturity as an actor; wrestling with his emotions as the realisation that his wife is having an affair slowly dawns upon him. His reaction is as surprising as it is understandable and serves to fuel the moral debate which rages throughout.

Lyne’s direction is also assured, allowing things to build slowly, while asking all sorts of questions of its viewers, and the movie also refrains from drifting into mawkish sentimentality, treating its audience as adults throughout.

The result is both steamy and provocative throughout and makes for compulsive viewing.



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