Unfaithful (2002) Review


I’m a huge fan of Adrian Lyne’s sexy, stylish, and provocative work in general, and Unfaithful is easily one of his best films, filled with probing psychological underpinnings and juicy star turns from Richard Gere and Diane Lane, who likely delivered career topping work with her simmering and extremely erotic performance as a suburban housewife who is tempted by the tall, dark stranger. The thematically layered screenplay by Alvin Sargent and William Broyles Jr. never let anyone off the hook, peering into an abyss of jealousy, deceit, guilt, and temptation that felt honest and organic and just as upsetting as it is enthralling. Casting Gere as the schlub was a sly touch, the film’s sleek visual style was movie-star glossy thanks to the superb talents of cinematographer Peter Biziou, and that dynamite sequence with Lane on the train, recounting her steamy indiscretions with the alluring Olivier Martinez, is an absolute all-timer in terms of hot-blooded cinematic sexuality featuring an actress unafraid to let it rip in a primal and absolutely passionate moment of nonverbal acting. The final scene is a true stinger in that it feels totally appropriate with its implications, allowing the audience to do a bit of thinking after the credits have rolled, while feeling organic and plausible. With only eight feature credits on his resume, I really wish Lyne had become more prolific, as I’ve always found his work to be consistently entertaining and almost always underrated.

Review by Nick Clement