DVD Review: Adrian Lyne’s Unfaithful on Fox Home Entertainment

Just in time for Christmas, here’s something special to give to that special lady in your life looking to scratch that seven-year itch.


Suburban housewife Connie Summer (Diane Lane) isn’t looking for Mr. Goodbar though it’s difficult to turn down a fuck from a bookish, pin-up French Hispanic when a magical realist windstorm all but rips her panties off. Softcore porn poet Adrian Lyne knows good sex and while Lane and Olivier Martinez put on a good show, beyond the sex lies a more existential Lyne (curiously, the food products from 9 1/2 Weeks are Unfaithful’s ice packs). The elements bring Connie and Paul together, the ominous gaze of god-like statues in a SoHo flat assuring penetration. Though his approach is predictably Gallic, Peter is less opportunistic than you might expect. His near-effortless romantic approach guarantees her return: he makes her walk through a maze of books and sculptures, guiding her with words toward a book of poems. Lyne evokes Connie’s loneliness and deceit via lyrical fades and careful product placement (here, a poster of a couple kissing at a rush-hour metro stop) when she remembers her trembling orgasm aboard a train to suburbia. Now that women are cheating on Richard Gere, a door has opened for a fresher Mr. Goodbar. Lyne contemplates newer models when he first lingers on the wrinkles of Gere’s sex appeal but, in the end, the actor fights back with evocative blood-splatter. A skipping record is Lyne’s transitional element between Connie’s comfort and fear, a forgotten garb a permission to fuck and a snow globe the haunting reminder of nature bringing and tearing lovers apart. Loyalty is egregiously referenced at the workplace yet Lyne seemingly engages Antonioni when Connie and Edward contemplate marital rootlessness and the ennui of suburbia in the film’s fantastic closing scene. No boiling rabbits this time, just a stop-go-stop-go streetlight metaphor that suggests the Summers must suffer to come back to love.


Fox Home Entertainment will make Unfaithful available in two separate editions-one in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, another in 4:3 full frame. The edge halos present throughout the transfer are virtually invisible though they have a way of making the characters look like cookie-cutter creations during some scenes. Otherwise, the transfer is incredibly clean and rich. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is luxuriant and intimate. Dialogue is perfectly audible but it’s the beautiful Jan A.P. Kaczmarek score that sounds especially expansive.


Kudos to Adrian Lyne for having evolved since the days of Fatal Attraction. On the commentary track he provides for this DVD edition of Unfaithful, Lyne extols the often undervalued French New Wave auteur Claude Chabrol, whose La Femme Infidele haunted him since its premiere in 1969. Lyne is forced to repeat his passions and influences both on the disc’s featurette and during his guest spot on The Charlie Rose Show but, despite the obvious redundancies, he manages to keep things lively and interesting. Not surprisingly, Diane lane proves to be livelier than Olivier Martinez on their scene-specific commentary track. Anne Coates describes test audience reactions to the film’s existing ending during a particularly intimate feature dedicated to her editing of the film. Eleven deleted scenes, including the film’s original, less ambiguous ending are included here. The most notable sequence shows a chance meeting between Lane and Martinez aboard the Metro North. Of all the conversation pieces with the film’s stars, Lane’s proves to be the most interesting. The clearly nervous actress lovingly goes on about her father Burt Lane’s early theatre relationship with John Cassavetes and how “Gena Rowlands could have been my mom.” Also included here are interactive scriptnotes, the film’s theatrical trailer and two previews, one for Fox’s upcoming Daredevil, starring Ben Affleck.


Just in time for Christmas, here’s something special to give to that special lady in your life looking to scratch that seven-year itch.

 Cast: Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Olivier Martinez, Erik Per Sullivan, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Michelle Monaghan, Chad Lowe, Erich Anderson, Kate Burton, Margaret Colin  Director: Adrian Lyne  Screenwriter: William Broyles Jr., Alvin Sargent  Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment  Running Time: 124 min  Rating: R  Year: 2002  Release Date: December 17, 2002  Buy: Video, Soundtrack

Ed Gonzalez

Ed Gonzalez is the co-founder of Slant Magazine. His writing has also appeared in The Village Voice and The Los Angeles Times. He’s a member of the New York Film Critics Circle, the Critics Choice Association, and the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association.

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