After a second adaptation of the novel lolitaby Vladimir Nabokov, Adrian Lyne set out for his only effective remake of a cinematographic work in his career, from Stephane (or unfaithful woman), a 1969 feature by French director and screenwriter Claude Chabrol. Infidelity is surprising for the way it maintains the structure of the original work, but, at the same time, managing to bring it to the present time, even though the story itself is universal and timeless, resulting in a film that is not very remembered in the filmography of the filmmaker. British, but it turned out to be his last as director for no less than 20 years, until he returned with Deep watersin 2022, thematically similar.
In the story, Constance “Connie” Sumner (Diane Lane, stunning), married to Edward (Richard Gere), mother of young Charlie (Erik Per Sullivan) and living in upstate New York, in a beautiful house, begins to have a torrid love affair with Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez), the younger man she meets by chance during a windstorm in Manhattan. It doesn’t take long, and her husband begins to suspect that something is wrong with his wife and he slowly approaches the truth, with drastic consequences for them. It is, for all intents and purposes, a script that follows familiar paths, but which stands out for making infidelity not something that results from a marriage in tatters, but something that simply happens.
It is interesting to note, by the way, that we rarely think about the causes of extramarital affairs in the audiovisual when the man is the unfaithful, probably because of unconsciously sexist thoughts embedded in the popular imagination. After all, it is almost an “obligation” for a man to get involved with other women if the opportunity arises, whether he is happy or not in his marriage. But, here, the logic is reversed and the woman is the adulteress, but without there being anything in her relationship with Edward that drives her to make that decision beyond something of the moment, of impulse. Lyne, with her usual elegance, knows how to deal with this situation like few others, building a believable love affair – perhaps more passion, I would say – that divides Diane Lane’s character between two lives, one of adventures and news in the big city and the other. calm and routine inside, but both are apparently equally precious to her.
This division added to the space that Alvin Sargent’s screenplay (two years before embarking on three films in a row Spider man) and William Broyles Jr. (two years before co-writing the polar express) creates for Connie is the film’s greatest asset, as it delivers all the opportunities in the world for Diane Lane to shine. And shine she shines to the point of her performance have been deservedly remembered – if not awarded – with the 2003 Golden Globe and Oscar nominations, as well as a multitude of other smaller organizations. Lane is the true heart of Infidelity with her subtle work that convinces us of every step her Connie takes, whether in her dedication to her husband and son and home life as a whole, or in her whirlwind of urgent and sexually charged feelings for Paul (there are some erotic sequences that begin, from afar, to resemble those of 9 1/2 Weeks of Lovebut which Lyne knows to stop before she runs out of tune).
On the other hand, both Olivier Martinez and Richard Gere disappoint in their works, the former looking more like the archetype of the French lover, without any attempt to print layers (also the script’s fault, of course) and the latter walking through the set on automatic. Although it is natural not to expect anything from Martinez, considering his little-known career, the same cannot be said of Gere who, despite never having been a great actor, has already shown much more dramatic quality in works such as A beautiful woman, The Two Faces of a Crime and also in the award-winning Chicago, of the same year. It is true that the scene of its violent explosion opening the last third of the projection is excellent, but I consider its efficiency much more to Lyne’s work than the actor’s.
Speaking of the last third, this is the point where the script reveals fatigue. Obviously, the feature is heading towards its conclusion, but the path taken is slow and somewhat full of conveniences here and there, in addition to several scenes that add little to the narrative, making it evident that there was room for a more precise and lean editing that would end the work with something like 20 or 25 less than it ended up having, more or less with the same duration as Chabrol’s feature, by the way. However, I really like Lyne’s version of the French director’s ambiguous ending, as he manages to be both respectful of the source material and different from it, with a touch of that always challenging atmosphere that Lyne knows how to create in his works.
Infidelity is a good example of extemporaneous remakes, with Adrian Lyne imposing his style and his take on a classic material that intelligently drinks from a number of cliché situations to create a setting that illustrates well that love betrayals don’t need triggers within the relationship. original to happen. It’s not the Briton’s most challenging film to start his two-decade hiatus, I’ll admit, but he has another performance of an actress under her command, perhaps even the best female performance in her filmography, which is definitely no small feat.
Infidelity (Unfaithful – USA, 2002)
Direction: Adrian Lyne
Road map: Alvin Sargent, William Broyles Jr. (based on an original screenplay by Claude Chabrol and Sauro Scavolini)
Cast: Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Olivier Martinez, Erik Per Sullivan, Chad Lowe, Dominic Chianese, Erich Anderson, Michelle Monaghan, Kate Burton, Margaret Colin, Željko Ivanek, Michael Emerson, Damon Gupton, Joseph Badalucco Jr.
Duration: 124 min.