Faithful (1996)
New Line Home Entertainment
Cast: Chazz Palminteri, Cher, Ryan O’Neal

About 3 years before Harold Ramis’ ’Analyze This’ the silver screen already saw a wonderful comedy about a mobster in desperate need of counseling. The film was ’Faithful, ’ written by Chazz Palminteri based on his own stage play, starring himself also in one of the principal roles. Palminteri, of course, also appeared in ’Analyze This’ alongside Robert DeNiro, who actually produced ’Faithful.’ It’s all in the family, you see?

After 20 years of marriage, Jack (Ryan O’Neal) wants to get rid of his wife Margaret (Cher). He can’t divorce here because he’d lose all the riches she brought into the marriage as well as her family’s company. So he decides to have her killed on the night of their 20th Anniversary.
The hitman is Tony (Chazz Palminteri) a seemingly cold-blooded mobster who is breaking into the house to put an end to Margaret’s miserable life. But he’s never killed a woman before, so he needs some over-the-phone consoling by his therapist, as he is trying Maragret to a chair in preparation for his deed. While they are waiting for the go-ahead signal from her husband over the phone, Margaret and Tony begin talking to each other and as they exchange their world views and opinions and eventually Margaret makes him a counter-offer. Can Tony resist? What will his therapist say about this? Better call him just to be sure…

With a witty wink, ’Faithful’ is a wonderful story of personal interaction, showing how people bounce ideas and thoughts off each other. With its limited locations and minimal cast, the film still has the feel of a theater play, and uses it to its advantage by creating an intimacy as if we were sitting right there in the room with the characters. The cast is marvelously bringing these figures to light and especially Tony and Margaret are wickedly funny to observe. The humor in the film is never flat or silly. It always comes from counter-pointing different points of view, allowing the viewer to also sit back at times and say to himself ’I never thought of it this way.’ The lines, the topics and the delivery are superb. Making ’faithful’ a charming and highly humorous movie to watch.

New Line is presenting the film in its 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio on this DVD in a transfer that is enhanced for 16×9 TV sets. The print is generally clean but occasional speckles are evident, as is a bit of graininess. Colors are warm and faithfully rendered, creating natural settings with deep blacks and good shadows. No edge-enhancement is evident and the compression is without flaws.

The audio on the disc is also nicely reproduced. It is a very understand mix to begin with and surround effects are used sparingly, mostly for ambient effects.

’Faithful’ is a witty comedy with a series of wonderful moments that will make you think, too. It is perfectly written, cast and acted, and asks a good number of questions about interpersonal relationships – how we deal with each other as human beings. I had a blast with this film, and so will you. Get it now!