out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
In The Cut
Review by Susan Granger
1½ stars out of 4
In this cinematic adaptation of Susanna Moore's controversial
best-seller, Jane Campion ("The Piano") attempts to craft a torrid
psychological suspense thriller but ultimately fails.
Opening with strains of "Que Sera Sera" as a gentle "petal storm" covers
Manhattan's Greenwich Village with flowers, it revolves around Frannie Avery
(Meg Ryan), a romance-wary creative writing teacher who lusts for NYPD
Detective Michael Malloy (Mark Ruffalo). With his partner (Nick Damici), he's
investigating a grisly neighborhood homicide. Frannie's life is fraught with
complications - from her lonely half-sister (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to an
intense student (Sharrieff Pugh) to a former-suitor-turned-stalker (Kevin
Bacon) - but realizing that there's a serial killer on the lose, hiding in one
murky doorway or another, really turns her on.
Miraculously, Meg Ryan manages to look downright dowdy. Since she
physically strips to the buff on numerous occasions, she seems to envelop
herself in an unflattering mousy brown wig. Dispensing with any trademark
perkiness, her portrayal is raw, honest and fearless, if not convincing.
(Nicole Kidman's credited as producer and it's a shame she didn't play the
part.) In the same vein, Mark Ruffalo valiantly tries to look dangerously hunky
- to no avail. Both their characters are so two-dimensional and so seriously
underwritten as to lack credibility. Director Jane Campion's symbolic and
atmospheric visuality is, as always, effective - with credit to "Chicago"
cinematographer Dion Beebe and production designer David Brisbin - but her slow
pacing and lack of steamy suspense are frustrating and self-defeating. On the
Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "In the Cut" is a kinky, sordid 3, bordering on
Copyright © 2003 Susan Granger
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