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BACK TO FILMOGRAPHY

IN THE CUT

• U.S. Release Date: December 8, 2000
• Running Length: 119 minutes
• MPAA Classification: R for violence, language and some drug material.
• USA Box Office: $33 Million
• Budget Estimate: $65 Million
• Studio: Sony Pictures

• Director : Jane Campion
• Production Company: Castle Rock Entertainment, Bel Air Entertainment, Anvil Films

• Cast : Meg Ryan & Jennifer Jason Leigh , Micheal Nuccio, Alison Nega, Dominick Aries


 

PLOT SUMMARY

Based on Susanna Moore's popular novel, In the Cut centers on Frannie ( Meg Ryan ), an emotionally stifled English teacher who gets steamy with sultry Malloy ( Mark Ruffalo, You Can Count On Me), a cop who's investigating a series of brutal murders--but Frannie soon suspects that Malloy may be the killer. As a psychological thriller, In the Cut is heavier on psychology than thrills; the story is a skeleton that director Jane Campion (The Piano, An Angel at My Table) cloaks in one of the most nightmarish visions of urban life since Taxi Driver or Seven, accompanied by lots of explicit sex. The movie's dark tone will put some viewers off, but Ruffalo's effortless magnetism serves him well; no woman in the audience will question how quickly Ryan falls into bed with him. Also featuring Jennifer Jason Leigh and an uncredited Kevin Bacon.

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"In The Cut" is an adaptation of Susanna Moore's excellent novel of the same title, published in 1995. Director Jane Campion has departed significantly from the novel in several places, especially with the ending, but has managed to capture much of the book's eroticism, dark edginess, and palpable suspense.
Frannie Avery, superbly acted by Meg Ryan, is an attractive 35 year-old divorcee who lives in a two room apartment on Washington Square. She teaches creative writing at NYU to a group of inner-city teens. She is also a connoisseur and scholar of language and is writing a book on street slang and its derivatives. Frannie takes chances. She is a sexual risk taker. However, she lives in her own private world where she spends an incredible amount of time pondering the nature of language, which leaves her vulnerable to her surroundings...and reality. Frannie is not at all street savvy. And her nearsightedness allows her to disengage even more from the potentially dangerous world in which she lives. One late afternoon, in a neighborhood bar, she makes a trip to the ladies room and inadvertently walks-in on a couple engaged in an intimate act. The man's face is obscured by shadow but she does notice that he has a unique tattoo on the inside of his wrist. A few days later a NYC homicide detective, James E. Malloy (Mark Ruffalo), seeks Frannie out for an interview. There has been a brutal murder in the neighborhood. The victim is the woman Frannie saw performing the sex act in the bar. The evening Frannie saw her was her last.

Malloy takes risks also. He totally defies all rules about relationships between a detective and potential witness and acts on the tremendous sexual attraction between Frannie and himself. Malloy epitomizes the "tough guy with a badge," his frank blunt language adding to Frannie's turn-on. From the first, however, she knew that Malloy had a tattoo on his wrist - a tattoo she had seen once before.

Jennifer Jason Leigh plays Pauline, Frannie's spacey, obsessive half-sister and the person Frannie is closest to and loves. She lives above a topless bar in downtown Manhattan and the affection both women feel for the erotic dancers, the entire ambiance of the club and its proximity to their lives, reestablishes the sense of careless oblivion to danger. Together the two ponder the ups and downs of being female, discuss sexuality and romance and their father's many foibles.

Kevin Bacon is Frannie's off-the-wall ex-boyfriend who stalks her and maintains a threatening presence throughout. And Sharrieff Pugh is excellent as one of Frannie's brightest students who is fixated upon John Wayne Gacy.

Jane Campion, an extraordinary director, has not given us a typical mystery thriller about a vicious serial killer. "In The Cut" is more an exploration of the sexuality and inner life of an intelligent, creative, emotionally starved women approaching middle age. Detective Mallory's aggressive masculinity and the threat of the physical danger which surrounds her jar Frannie awake. The films portrays an urban environment of muted violence just waiting to explode and the colors and sounds of Campion's New York add to the building tension. There are some superbly staged sequences which give a hallucinatory, almost nightmarish quality to the scenes. The intense and honest performances really compensate for the movie's flaws. I found myself totally absorbed. Recommended - but be warned, this is not a movie for the sqeamish or faint of heart!