Remarkably, this plodding mix of coincidence and cliché was directed by Michael Apted and written by Tom Stoppard. Only Jeremy Northam, as a droll and cynical government agent, enlivens the proceedings — but just a little and not for long.
The alienating aspects of labor was also the theme of director Laurent Cantet’s last film, Human Resources (2000). Though the focus of that effort was on the class struggle between workers and management, Cantet approached his melodramatic plot with an affecting realism that seems more maturely and subtly honed here.
The only surprising thing about Unfaithful is that director Adrian Lyne (Nine 1/2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction) has erred on the side of restraint. With a plot so basic — woman cheats on husband, husband exacts revenge, guilt abounds — it’s an exercise in the inevitable. Lyne should have gone for the sleaze.
This adaptation of V. S. Naipaul's first novel, directed by Ismail Merchant, is the lightly comic tale of the rise from poverty to political office of a likable pompous fraud. It's full of colorful characters and quaint but not cutesy incidents, though the film strains for a significance it doesn't achieve.
There’s just something about all-night diners. Telway, on Michigan Avenue west of Livernois, is the kind of place where the waitresses had tattoos before everyone else. It feels like it would be easy to become a regular; with only seven stools, right on top of the workspace, you can hardly avoid getting involved in conversations. Nobody’s in a hurry for you to leave after your 45-cent hamburger. In the fast-food genre, Telway is a hell of a lot friendlier than McDonald’s (“Can I help who’s next?” from a sullen teenager), and some of the food is better. The fish and chicken sandwiches are crispier than McDonald’s and only 95 cents. The 55-cent fries aren’t quite as crisp as McDonald’s, but they’re pretty good, and Telway serves onion rings too. The “hillbilly chili” is the thin kind, more of a soup and medium-mild. (And it does taste like the kind I grew up on in West Virginia.) There’s a large array of doughnuts and cinnamon rolls, also big sellers.