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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 57:54)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, Hebrew, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Portuguese, Turkish, Icelandic, Croatian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • 11 Deleted scenes
  • 3 Teaser trailer - High Crimes, Road to Perdition, One Hour Photo
  • Theatrical trailer
  • 2 Audio commentary - by director Adrian Lyne, Scene specific commentaries by Diane Lane and Olivier Martinez
  • 2 Featurette
  • 3 Production notes - Directors script notes for three sequences: Morning, Meeting and Unthinkable
  • Animated menus
  • 4 Interviews - Charlie Rose Interview, A conversation with Richard Gere, A conversation with Diane Lane, A conversation with Olivier Martinez

Unfaithful

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 118 mins . MA15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Unfaithful is an intense, honest and realistic approach to the emotional strains infidelity puts upon this married couple. Loosely based upon Claude Chabrol’s La Femme Infidčle, where a husband hires a private detective to spy on his cheating wife, director Adrian Lyne takes his film in a slightly different direction, yet still holds onto the French filmmaking talent of dealing with relationship issues.

The film draws from several genres – the erotic film, the emotional drama, the whodunnit murder mystery and the suspense thriller. Lyne grabs hold of these genres, pulls them all together, swirls them around and throws Unfaithful on the screen with a superb and precise technique. Rather than other ‘affair’ films where the husband gets overly violent and possessive, this film focuses on the continuation of life after the affair - the emotions, stresses and relationships between the involved characters - as well as the complication of there being a son in the equation. This gives a more relevant and realistic air, and also gives audiences something to relate to. Subtlety is a great technique in film which allows the audience to think for themselves, rather than mindlessly and passively sitting like slugs watching the film. Lyne uses small and subtle props, scene settings, backgrounds, inferences and assumptions to make the audience figure out parts of the relationships for themselves, rather than just serving them up on a silver platter. The deleted scenes on this disc, combined with knowledge gained from the commentaries, gives the audience a meaning to many objects in the final edit that just don’t make sense, for example the video camera, where an emphasis is made on it, but then nothing is really done with it.

"...and pee. Lift the seat, honey. Don't forget to put it down... [seat goes down]... when you finish."

This film questions what is right and what is wrong, the essence of which has been captured with this quote. The film opens on a family house in the suburbs of New York, where Constance (Diane Lane, nominated for an Academy Award for this role) and Edward (Richard Gere) Sumner live with their eight-year-old son. This day is particularly windy - an omen of the winds of change if you like - and sees Constance head to the city to run errands. Here she bumps (literally) into Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez) and cuts her knee. Martel, being the charming thing that he is, invites her upstairs to his apartment to clean up and apply a Band Aid. Constance is drawn in by the quote above in one of Martel’s books and this alters her perception on her life, consequently bringing her back again on other occasions to his apartment. The affair of possession, obsession and betrayal starts the suspenseful tale that leads the audience onto the film's rather weak conclusion. This is the downfall of the film, for whereas the content throughout is handled realistically and maturely, it all falls flat on its face with a flop of an ending that leaves a salty taste in your mouth. And no, it’s nothing sexual...

  Video
Contract

The video transfer on this retail release is nearly identical to that on the rental disc, with the major visible difference being the addition of a layer change.

The video is presented in an anamorphically-enhanced aspect of 1.85:1, and looks stunning.

Soft focus on many of the shots is purposeful and artistic, and the detail is adequate for interior scenes, but can appear a little murky at times. Many of the subtleties can be seen visually, and this transfer makes each and every one look stunning. Contrasting and conflicting light, colours and imagery all shine on screen, and purposely stand out as part of Lyne's overall vision, as does cinematographer Peter Biziou's crafty photography.

Colours from the fairly drab palette are mastered precisely, with a magic appearance lighting up the screen, even though there is nothing really “in your face”. Blacks are consistently solid and deep, with absolutely no sign of low-level noise, even during the sequences with incredibly low bitrates. Shadow detail is adequate, with clear definitions for most of the film, but at times the shadows can become overpowering.

Film artefacts are kept to a minimum, with the odd minute speck flying past. However, early on in the film, a large purple spot can be seen (still, as this was in the rental transfer), showing signs that the transfer wasn’t touched between a rental and retail release. Grain is apparent, but not an issue as it adds to the tone and mood of the film, rather than detracting from it. Compression related artefacts are nearly non-existent, and the odd case of aliasing is the only quibble in that department.

The major changes between the two is the 57:54 layer change, and the addition of a heap of subtitle languages, as well as subtitles for each of the two commentary tracks.

  Audio
Contract

The first of three audio tracks is (still) a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, and sounds exactly the same as the previous release. The two tracks have been encoded with the same bitrate, and sound the same. But then so you don’t have to flick between reviews, here we go again...

This is a dialogue-driven film, with the centre channel hosting the crystal clear dialogue, and the remaining five speakers providing supportive and ambient sound effects. The subwoofer can take the night off for most of the film, apart from the odd “thump” of a dead body hitting the floor or running into a wall (as you do). The soundstage, however much centre-channel oriented, is deeply crafted, offering a surround delight even though there is nothing groundbreaking or different, it's just a great example of building up intensity levels using sound and vision.

The fidelity of the soundtrack is incredible, with Jan A.P. Kaczmarek’s hauntingly beautiful piano-based score filling up the living room with an exquisite precision. The next best thing to being there! And put your hands up if you noticed the acoustic piano version of Radiohead’s Exit Music in there? Didn’t think I’d see anyone’s hands, but admittedly it doesn't stand out as you may imagine.

The remaining two tracks are commentary tracks, both Dolby Digital 2.0 and in English.

  Extras
Contract

This special edition sure is something, and well worth the wait. What a step up from the standard Fox rental menus!

Where to start? Well what better place than with a feature-length audio commentary from director Adrian Lyne? This is a terrific addition to the bundle, and gives great technical and influential information regarding the making-of and polishing-of the film. Also included is nearly an hour’s worth of scene specific commentaries by two of the key cast members, Diane Lane and Olivier Martinez. These two commentators share the one audio track, and speak separately regarding their own scenes and characters. Now where is Richard Gere’s contribution? He was off polishing up his singing voice for Chicago probably...

11 deleted scenes have been included, upgrading from two on the rental disc. These scenes are all fairly short, and have the option of an informative director’s commentary. The numbers in brackets refers to the duration of the scenes, all of which look just as good as the remainder of the film – none of this low-res dirty production footage. Firstly there is the Alternate Ending (3:10) which totally changes the ending of the film, and gives things some closure, something that the final edit didn’t quite achieve. The next ten sequences just fill in gaps within the screenplay, and some should have remained in the film. These are Night Mom (1:02), Chance Meeting (1:08), Another Phone Call (1:43), At the Movies (1:40, also on the rental disc), No One There (1:10), Between Floors (1:04), Go Back to Bed (1:12, the other inclusion on the rental release), Blood Red Wine (1:21), The Detective Calls (1:44) and Only a Ticket (0:38).

Next we dive into the first of two featurettes, the first at just over 15 minutes. An Affair To Remember: On The Set is a standard promotional-type featurette, but still has some interesting comments from the cast and director, and it even sounds as though the opening to the commentary was made up from his interview... The second featurette runs for 8:33, and features Anne Coates (editor of Lawrence of Arabia, Erin Brockovich, In the Line of Fire) discussing her thoughts on the film, and the way that she put together particular sequences.

To finish off the collection, there are four sets of interviews, one taken from the Charlie Rose Show. This interview features Adrian Lyne, Diane Lane and Richard Gere babbling on for about 18 minutes. The final three sets are all Conversations With..., the subjects being Richard Gere (5:24), Diane Lane (9:18) and Olivier Martinez (7:05). These interviews are interesting and informative, and a more than welcome addition to this package. Just to top off the extras is a 2:18 theatrical trailer which is the U.S. version that's slightly different to that screened in Australia prior to the film's release. While we are on the topic of trailers though, three previews for other Fox films lie before the menu loads, for High Crimes, Road to Perdition and One Hour Photo. These are in one title, and can be skipped by pushing the 'menu' button on your remote control.

  Overall  
Contract

Fox really know how to give something the special edition treatment. This package is a must for your collection of dramatic thrillers, boasting a neat and artistic video transfer, a richly-detailed audio transfer and some of the most interesting and fresh features to come along in quite sometime. Definately hire this one first to make your mind up, but in all honesty, there is no shame in buying this disc simply for the superb filmmaking and incredibly talented and Academy-Award nominated acting.


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      And I quote...
    "...in all honesty, there is no shame in buying this disc simply for the superb filmmaking and incredibly talented and Academy-Award nominated acting..."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Philips DVD 736K
    • TV:
          TEAC EU68-ST
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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