[box cover]

Unfaithful

The man who turned Glenn Close into a bunny boiler in Fatal Attraction and bathed Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson in a bedful of money in Indecent Proposal returns to his favorite subject matter — infidelity — with Unfaithful (2002), an erotic, dramatic thriller that's both steamy and thought-provoking. Loosely basing the film on Claude Chabrol's 1969 French classic La Femme Infidèle, director Adrian Lyne explores the motivations behind — and complicated consequences of — a suburban housewife's torrid affair with a handsome stranger. When Connie Sumner (Diane Lane) literally runs into Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez) during a blustery day in Manhattan, she isn't looking to cheat on her boyishly rumpled husband, Edward (Richard Gere). They're happy, if somewhat set in their ways, and she loves him. But sensual, exotic Paul proves irresistible, and despite her conscience, Connie is soon sneaking off for passionate afternoon trysts in the city. As her obsession escalates, Edward gets suspicious, and eventually the increasingly tense situation implodes. But despite its melodramatic storyline and intense sex scenes, Unfaithful is much subtler than Lyne's previous forays into the world of infidelity, and the film is the better for it — Unfaithful's silences say more than Moore's entire voiceover in Proposal. Lane has some amazing moments as Connie; the raw play of emotions across her face in the wordless love-scene-flashback sequence on the train is exquisite. Gere is also impressive; there was a time in his career when he might have played the forbidden stranger, but here he makes Edward's steadfast devotion to Connie utterly believable and sympathetic. We don't just want Connie to go back to him because it's the right thing to do, but because he's worth going back to. Fox's DVD release of Unfaithful takes the viewer even further inside the characters and their motivations; most of the extras revolve around thoughtful interviews and analysis from Lyne and his stars. There's a full-length director's commentary (Lyne is well-spoken and urbane), as well as scene-specific comments from Lane and Martinez, talking-head interviews with the three stars, a "making-of" featurette, and a segment from The Charlie Rose Show featuring Lyne, Gere, and Lane. Also on the must-see-extras list is a set of 11 deleted scenes (with optional commentary from Lyne), which includes an alternate ending that, for better or worse, removes the ambiguity of the theatrical finale. All of the cut sequences are worth watching; with the exception of the changed ending, none would have seemed out of place in the final film. Other goodies include an engaging editing featurette, the theatrical trailer, Lyne's script notes (sometimes indecipherable, unfortunately), and previews for upcoming Fox films. The anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) beautifully showcases the lush photography, and the DD 5.1 audio is strong and clear (other options include Spanish and French 2.0 Surround tracks and English, French, and Spanish subtitles). Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech



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