IN THE CUT, disastrously directed by Jane Campion, is a DOA thriller that, when
it should be boiling, can't even warm up to a slow simmer. The polar opposite
of an edge-of-your-seat production, it is a leaden film that is liable to put
you to sleep in your seat. The movie makes you wait a full one-and-one-half
hours before anything even remotely exciting happens, and, when it does,
Campion cuts away fairly quickly so the scene produces almost no impact on the
audience. Only a good cast, delivering uniformly nice performances, and a few
good laughs make the movie at all worthwhile.
Based on a novel by Susanna Moore, the movie concerns Professor Frannie Avery
(Meg Ryan), who teaches writing at an urban university. Since a body part was
found buried in the garden below her apartment, Detective Malloy (Mark Ruffalo,
YOU CAN COUNT ON ME) interviews Frannie, as well as her neighbors. Although
she increasingly suspects that Malloy is the killer, she has an affair with
him. He lives with his ex-wife, he claims, so that he can help her raise their
The early buzz for the film has centered on the explicitness of Ryan's nudity
and sexuality in the picture. While technically correct, Campion films the sex
so that it is devoid of any hint of real eroticism. They only thing we are
sure of is that Frannie is a firm believer in safe sex.
After throwing off several obviously false clues, the predictable story ends by
revealing who the killer is, but anyone who is paying attention will have long
since guessed his identity. His unveiling is such a "Well, duh!" moment that I
would expect the scene to elicit scornful laughter from most audiences.
IN THE CUT runs 1:58. It is rated R for "strong sexuality including explicit
dialogue, nudity, graphic crime scenes and language" and would be acceptable
for older teenagers.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes