Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Movie Review : Unfaithful

The winds of change blow into the lives of Connie and Edward Sumner. Connie (Diane Lane) literally bumps into young, studly Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez) outside his apartment. She skins her leg, he offers her a chance to clean herself up and she enters his place, which is more like a rare library. Nothing happens, although his attempts at seduction are as subtle as the music he plays, which just screams out “let me bend you over the chair.”

Although Paul never seems to have time to talk to her about anything but getting into her pants, he completely disregards the wedding ring on her finger. I guess two can play at that game. Edward, meanwhile, begins to pick up the subtle hints that something may be going on and Unfaithful quickly becomes the ticking clock of when and how the truth will come out and what its consequences will be. Edward’s final realization turns into an incredibly potent and well-acted confrontation.

The first sexual encounter is shown to us via her flashbacks, giving the sense that she, too, was merely an observer, and not a participant. 'This isn't something I would do,' she seems to think during the train ride home. 'I'm perfectly happy in my marriage.' Her husband, Edward (Richard Gere), is good. Their marriage is comfortable -- but not complacent -- and they have a young son (Erik Per Sullivan) whom they adore. There is no reason for Connie to have an affair. Even she can't figure it out. If she had unsatisfied yearnings, they were unknown even to her.

When Connie implies she may be making a mistake, Paul says to her there are no mistakes, “only what you do and don’t do.” Later in the film when Connie’s son wets his pants, she tells him not to worry because “everyone has accidents.” One time may be an accident but going back to catch the regular nooner matinee, not to mention the scenes and sex in public restaurants, restrooms and hallways is something not thought of.

Connie returns home to her marriage of 11 years and the young son she dotes on. Edward (Richard Gere) knows how attractive his wife is and likes to tease her with jokes about flirting and hitting on her clients at work. There’s no reason for us to suspect she is unsatisfied with her home life, but when Paul’s phone number falls out of the book he gave her, she calls him up. She doesn’t seem to know why she’s doing it but she meets him again and again until she finds herself in his arms and on his bed, shaking like a leaf in a frantically powerful scene that quickly turns from passion into a disturbingly playful form of rape.

Lane's performance is brave and excellent. She endures a lot, and her character is compelling.

“Unfaithful” is certainly a good entry into the familiar Affair Gone Bad and worth watching. I guess "MURDER" movie must been inspired by this one... 3.5 my rating of 5

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