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For their 20th wedding anniversary, Jack gets Maggie a diamond necklace and a hit man. But when Tony shows up and, waiting for the signal from Jack in Connecticut to do the hit, he and Maggie begin to talk - perhaps Tony can come to value Maggie even more than her husband does. And when Jack shows up, things get very tricky. Written by
Bruce Cameron <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jack (Ryan O'Neil) is a lying, cheating husband who is having an affair with his 24-year-old secretary while his wife Margaret (Cher) sits at home living in a state of depression wondering what has gone wrong with her life. Margaret has all the money in the world but this isn't enough because she missing the touch of her husband plus she's too scared to leave him even though she knows he's cheating on her. With their twentieth anniversary here Margaret decides to make a change.
Before any change can take place, Jack (Chazz Palminteri), a Mafia hit man enters the house at gunpoint and tells the wife that she's going to die. Jack ties Margaret to a chair and tells her that he's waiting for the phone to ring twice, which is the signal from her husband that he's got an alibi and that the killing can take place. While waiting for the phone call Jack and Margaret begin talking and Jack is shocked to learn that the change the wife was going to do was kill herself. When Jack hears this he realizes that he has saved her life and the two also begin to realize that they have more in common than Margaret ever did with her husband.
Faithful was released to limited theaters back in 1996 and died a quick death without much buzz around the film. The box office take was small and there wasn't too much critical talk about the film but to me this is a very underrated art film with some very deep drama and a twisted sense of black humor, which sadly tried to be sold to the public as some sort of lighthearted comedy. This is the type of film that's about nothing at all. There's not too much going on throughout the film except for the appeal of its cast and the dialogue being spoken by them.
When I said the film was about nothing that's the honest truth because there isn't a single thing that happens in the film. We are given a setup but a minute later we know there's not going to be anything bad that happens. We can see it in the characters and we can see the silly setup and while we're expecting something funny to happen the screenplay by Palminteri takes a different approach and goes for some heavy handled drama, which seems out of place yet the actors are so convincing that we are brought deeper into the situation. This story was originally a stage play by Palminteri and while it doesn't translate too well to the screen there's still plenty to enjoy here.
Cher has always been a reliable actress and she does a wonderful job here in a demanding role that takes her from a suicidal case to an overly powerful and vengeful wife seeking answers in her life. The suicide part of the performance is done without words and we can just look at her eyes and see how she's feeling and know exactly why she's feeling it. At the end of the film Cher confronts her cheating husband and while this could have gone over the top, Cher's performance is so compelling that everything comes off believable and makes up from the heavy drama earlier in the film. Ryan O'Neil has never been an actor I've overly enjoyed but he's also very nice here. Chazz Palminteri on the other hand is one of my favorite character actors who has proved himself in Robert DeNiro's A Bronx Tale as well as Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway. His thick New York accent and mobster like personality is very charming and his dramatic turn here comes off wonderfully well.
I think Faithful has been forgotten because it's not really a film with any sort of payoff. There's never any suspense that someone is going to get killed and there's not enough laughs to keep a mainstream audience interested. Instead we are given a dialogue driven film with two depressed people and an adulterous husband who tries to have his wife killed. I think the film could have used a bit more comedy and the stuff with Palminteri's shrink never really works. This is the type of film that when it's over the viewer will probably ask themselves what was the point of the film. There isn't a point to the movie. Instead, we're given wonderful dialogue and three wonderful performances making the situation more interesting than it should be.
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