The Films of Adrian Lyne
Nine 1/2 Weeks
Indecent Proposal (February 26/14)
Indecent Proposal follows financially-strapped couple David (Woody Harrelson) and Diana (Demi Moore) as they're approached by a flashy billionaire (Robert Redford's John Gage) and offered a million dollars if Diana spends one night with the man, with the movie subsequently detailing the ramifications of the pair's decision to go through with the salacious deal. Filmmaker Adrian Lyne has infused Indecent Proposal with a flashy, far-from-subtle sensibility that captures the viewer's interest right from the get-go, with the irresistible nature of the movie's glossy and soap-opera-like atmosphere paving the way for a first half that's rife with engrossing sequences (eg Gage brazenly makes his offer to David and Diana). It doesn't hurt, either, that Harrelson and Moore share a palpable chemistry together that's heightened by their solid work here, while Redford delivers as charismatic and magnetic a performance as one might've expected (and hoped for). Indecent Proposal's compulsively watchable feel persists right up until Diana returns from her getaway with Redford's slick character, with the movie, past that point, adopting an increasingly melodramatic vibe that's compounded by a surplus of padded-out, needless sequences (ie the film's 117 minute running time is clearly a good half hour longer than necessary). It's subsequently difficult to work up much enthusiasm for the love triangle that dominates the picture's final third, with the all-too-convenient, cop-out ending certainly not doing the movie any favors and ultimately confirming Indecent Proposal's place as a passable endeavor that's hindered by a thoroughly underwhelming second half.
Unfaithful (March 18/16)
Based on a Claude Chabrol film, Unfaithful follows Diane Lane's Connie Sumner as she embarks on a torrid affair with a smoldering Frenchman named Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez) - with trouble naturally ensuing as Connie's husband (Richard Gere's Edward) discovers the infidelity. Unfaithful, which runs just over two hours, spends much of its first half concerned with Connie's domestic existence and, eventually, her ongoing trysts with Martinez's character, with filmmaker Adrian Lyne's methodical approach paving the way for a narrative that's generally interesting yet rarely engrossing (ie the viewer is, for the most part, kept at arms length by an often egregiously deliberate pace). It's clear, then, that the movie's mild success is due to the effectiveness of the performances and Alvin Sargent and William Broyles Jr.'s screenplay, with, in terms of the latter, the scripters delivering a storyline that escalates in a relatively plausible way (ie Connie's decision to keep seeing Paul doesn't strain credibility to the degree one might've anticipated). By the time everything blows up in Connie's face, Unfaithful has confirmed its place as an erratically-paced and distinctly overlong drama that nevertheless manages to pack a punch here and there - with the decidedly adult-oriented nature of the story ranking as one of the movie's undeniable pleasures (ie there's nary a teenager in sight for the duration of the film's running time).