DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Unfaithful

Someone has taken a great deal of care with this DVD. The picture quality is excellent and the extras are both intelligent and interesting. Adrian Lyne comes across as a perfectionist, who worries about detail, rather than the stylistic control freak of modern mythology.

In his commentary, he is good about why certain things are tried, discarded and then brought back. You begin to understand the complexity and fine tuning required in the making of a movie. He is delightfully self-depricating ("I'm not the fastest person on earth") and modest ("There is a real danger of underestimating the intelligence of the audience"), while admitting to an inability to deligate ("I'm scared of handing things over to other people. I want to be hands on").

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Unfaithful is loosely based on Claude Chabrol's 1968 movie La Femme Infidele, which Lyne calls "an extraordinary piece of work." When he says loose, he means it. Lyne likes to create, rather than copy, using experiences in his own life to illustrate certain scenes. Even having the lover as a Frenchman, worried him, because it was such a cliche, but the chemistry between Diane Lane and Olivier Martinez worked well from the original sceeen test ("They were so good together, so tactile") that he kept it in.

He wanted to change Richard Gere, make him wear crabby clothes and put on weight, show the audience another side to an actor who has always been known for his wardrobe and his looks. He didn't need to worry, because Gere threw himself into the role, discarding any semblance of vanity.

This is an easy, refreshing commentary, always respectful, not padded with flattery. "The danger is to take yourself too seriously," Lyne says. "The audience is dying to laugh - to laugh at you." He doesn't like being thought of as a director, who was once a cameraman, filling his formative years in London making commercials, like Ridley Scott and Alan Parker. "What I'm really interested in are the actors."

Conversation With... is an interview segment, with the three principal players. Gere is surprisingly pretentious, playing around with intellectual ideas. He is self-conscious. Lane has none of these problems. She speaks naturally and without the artificial charm of a people pleaser. She talks about her life, her father who worked with John Cassavetes in a theatre workshop they started together and Lonesome Dove, which of all her films, he liked the best. Martinez is delightful and modest. "I come from a family of boxers and mechanics." When he was at school, no-one cared about him. Now, they do. He's happy.

The deleted scenes are excellent, with memorable performances from Gere and Lane. It makes you realise how much of an actor's work is never seen, especially, like here, when it is so good. Lyne is unsentimental about leave stuff out. If it doesn't fit, it doesn't fit. The final film is more important.

The alternative ending is another case in point. It seems, in some ways, stronger and more emphatic, beautifully played by Gere and Lane. Talking of the other ending, the one in the film, Lyne says, "I thought it more interesting to leave it ambiguous, so that the audience can make up it's own mind."

On The Set... is like so many of these behind the scenes featurettes, uneventful, with people wandering around, setting up the camera, actors talking occasionally, Lyne saying, "I have a book of ideas, this thick," and you believe him. They talk about each other and are generous with praise. Anne Coates discusses the art of editing and then there is the scene in the street with the wind machine, repeated many times.

Charlie Rose is a talk show host. He is suitably shallow, with throw away charm. Lyne says again what he says in the commentary. Lane is terrific, as natural as before and almost completely unaware of how she looks, as if she doesn't care. You can tell when Gere is faking it. He scrunches up his eyes and gives that special smile. Lane watches him, ready to catch him if he falls. Rose is too superficial to make anything of the interviews, other than celebrity gossip. Everyone is playing the prime time game. Everyone except Lane, who can't help being herself.

Reviewed on: 14 Jul 2003
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Unfaithful packshot
Diane Lane has an affair with sexy French book dealer and husband Richard Gere is not happy.
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Product Code: 22970DVD

Region: 2

Ratio: 16:9 Wide Screen / 1.85

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Commentary by director Adrian Lyne; Conversation with Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Olivier Martinez; Deleted scenes; Alternative ending; An Affair To Remember - On The Set Of Unfaithful; Charlie Rose TV show.

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