Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A deft depiction of the human capacity for deceit and violence....

I'm sure the title above has never before been used to describe the movie Unfaithful, but it is a fitting one all the same. I watched the movie a few days ago and saw it and its characters in a new light.

My mother owns the film and I remember seeing it when it first came out in 2001however it didn't move me then as it did during my latest viewing. The movie's title, of course, denotes its plot--a married woman played by the beautiful Diane Lane engages in a heated affair with a handsome and sexy Parisian played by Olivier Martinez. The cuckolded husband is played by the also very handsome Richard Gere. The affair ends tragically as affairs often do, and I won't give away much more than that.

On the surface this movie seems straightforward and simple, but the darkness and intricacy of the film cannot be ignored. I watch A LOT of movies so the ones that totally get it right always strike a chord with me, Unfaithful definitely got "it" right.

At first encounter, the movie seems to be nothing more than an archetypical story of infidelity and betrayal within a marriage, but it is about much more than that--it brims with underlying themes of submission, responsiblity, and even human folly. You have to pay attention and/ or engage in repeated viewing of this film to truly feel the message and impact of the story.

Directed by Adrian Lyne whose impressive credits include Lolita, Nine 1/2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal and the psychologically arresting Jacob's Ladder, Unfaithful is multi-layered, moody and smart. What's more, the soundtrack is spot on--when I heard a piano driven cover of Radiohead's "Exit Music (For A Film)" performed by jazz pianist Brad Mehldau  resounding over scenes of Lane's foray into sexual deceit I was floored and even further impressed.

The most vivid message I gleaned from the film was spoken by Martinez's character Paul to Lane's character Connie, "there is no such thing as a mistake, it's what you do or don't do," forgive me if this isn't the exact quote but I typed it from memory and you can be certain it's darn close to what was said verbatim. This is a truth that applies perfectly to the movie's main conflict and to life itself as we as people are called to make earth shattering decisions in everyday life.

I'm not speaking of anything as trivial as a mistake at work, an erasure of a math problem, the breaking of a dish, it applies to those choices that are actual forks in the road before us; the ones that force us to take the path that will lead to monumental disruption and pain, or the path that leads to smooth waters and comfort and peace of mind. Only, the choice isn't always so easy, and the right path is not always appealing--a fact that may force a person to choose the path of pitfall and regret. Sometimes a spark of passion or instant gratification dwarfs our need to keep the boat steady on the right course.

See the movie and experience all the subtle hints, the words spoken as afterthought, the slip ups, the sloppiness, the anger, the masks worn, the nature of human relationships that hearken to the mating habits of animals and therefore human beings--submission and dominance, mundanity versus risk and heart pumping passion. See it all and more, in Unfaithful!!

What do YOU think. Is it just a film about a cheating woman being selfish and uncaring or is it much deeper than that? Speak on Richard Gere's character while you're at it, I could write an entire blog post about his character, but I won't. I didn't realize how good and well made this movie was before, and now I'm paying proper homage and I trust you'll feel inclined to do the same.

Peacy Weacy!!

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