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In the Cut (Unrated Director's Cut) (2003)

A movie directed by Jane Campion

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A Cut Above

  • May 27, 2009
If Looking For Mr. Goodbar had been made in 2002, you might expect to see something similar to Jane Campion's In The Cut.
Forget everything you know about psychological films or erotic thrillers so you can truly enjoy watching this complex film. I might also add this is NOT your typical Meg Ryan vehicle as there is nothing light-hearted or cute here. If you're still interested, keep reading because this film is definitely for those of us who want a little something different at the multiplex nowadays. Unlike most thrillers in this genre, in the cut is more of a pyschological statement about sexuality as viewed by thinking women & some men or perhaps just a very dark poem indeed. Either way, it's a terrific film by from the ingenius director who gave us The Piano nearly ten years prior.
Much like The Piano, there are scenes of eroticism which will either entice you, haunt you, or just somehow linger in your head for days. Most of the scenes aren't as graphic as  reviews might suggest but still are very deserving of a medium rare R-rating. (No, most parents won't be watching this one with the whole family.) There is a great deal of graphic dialogue describing sexual activity of all kinds so you may not want to watch this one in mixed company either. Again, very atypical of your average run-of-the-mill Meg Ryan film.

In The Cut starts out with one of the more visually stunning openings I've seen in some time which almost recalls earlier works of David Lynch in some respects. It's a brilliant montage which manages to captivate the viewer with it's breath-taking beauty & overall haunting atmosphere. The opening montage sets the stage for what may be a true rollercoaster ride of great acting, edginess, & tense eroticism.
Another great element is the lighting & the jerky camera movement which you usually don't see in the mainstream films. Trust me, the film makers here knew exactly what effect they were going for & the visuals add to the gritty plot as well as the overall disturbing atmosphere.
As I can't really comment on Susanna Moore's novel, I can only say that I believe the film would be atleast a decent adaptation of her story considering she was involved quite a bit with the making of the movie. I have been told (which I cannot substantiate unfortunately) that the movie is actually more graphic than the book which may also shock some viewers. One more interesting trivia piece: Evidently, the film was so graphic that nearly 7 minutes had to be excised from the original submission just to obtain the R-rating. For those of us who can only see the unedited versions of controversial films like this, we are hoping the digital world will release a special edition sometime down the road.
Unlike most films, everything you see here serves a purpose in the grand scheme of things even down to the charm bracelet gift & the wedding rings story told by our protagonist. Watch for clues because everything here fits in well somehow & interlocks beautifully. For those of you who don't like artsy films per se, you will not be too overwhelmed as most ends are tied up neatly when all is said & done. Therefore, In The Cut may very well have a broader appeal than The Piano or other great Campion films in this respect.

It's difficult to say more without giving away too much of the plot & the overall viewing experience but I CAN honestly say that this is one of the best films I've seen in the psychological genre. Highly recommended!! 
A Cut Above A Cut Above A Cut Above

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November 26, 2009
I actually own this little movie. I thought it was pretty good and honestly, at first I wanted to see Meg Ryan in her b-day suit at first but it turned out quite well. nice review, Brian.
November 28, 2009
I actually was kinda stoked when I first heard Meg had taken this role & begged my friends to come see it with me on my birthday years back. After eating dinner together, we all huddled up & went to check it out. About 3 out of five of us thought it was great. The other two hated it. I liked it so much that I actually bought myself a copy of it the day it came out on DVD.
May 27, 2009
Cenbite- another winner as always...thanks so much love for this intriguing review-I'm not sure if I've ever heard of this film or just wasn't paying attention. Thanks for your awesome review...I'll have to add it to Netflix!
May 27, 2009
Thanks again for your kind thoughts on my review. Definitely check it out sometime & let me know what you think. It's easily one of my favs. Hugs!!
More In the Cut reviews
review by . December 09, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Tight control of imagery, acting, general atmosphere      Cons: The sexual nature may be too much for some      The Bottom Line: If I taught a film class, I would use this film first one to show how to repeat images and metaphors in a careful but obvious way.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.      In the Cut is among the most difficult films to explore. This …
review by . January 13, 2006
I rented this out of the library and the unrated and uncut director's edition is way better. The Cut" is a very good film. The central plotline about Meg Ryan's and Mark Ruffalo's characters is really intriguing... she's very attracted to him, but doesn't trust him. He's almost the perfect man -- handsome, confident, and extremely good in bed -- except oops, he might be a brutal serial killer of women. Mark Ruffalo is clearly the man who can save Holly Hunter's life and make her happy, but there's …
review by . May 06, 2004
Pros: Umm…nudity…     Cons: Plot, plot, plot; lack of thrills and chills.     The Bottom Line: I was neither scared nor excited, enough to recommend this film. The wannabe erotic thriller In The Cut just isn't able to rise to the occasion—no pun intended.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. Meg Ryan apparently had an itch that needed scratching, a yearning to dump the sweet American girl-next-door …
review by . February 12, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Jane Campion had the courage to transform Susanna Moore's novel IN THE CUT into one of the more challenging and risk-taking dark movies in some time. Co-writing the screenplay with Moore and directing as well, Campion shows that she knows her way around the Grand Guignol oeuvre, and the result is a terrifyingly real depiction of the madness of serial killing - well, murder - in any form. Meg Ryan is well cast as Frannie, a fragile woman who teaches English in a seamy section of New York, who is …
review by . November 23, 2003
I was curious about this book when the movie was released and wondered if it would be tastefully done. I expected the story to be flashy, shallow and exploitative. Instead, it is shocking, edgy, vaguely threatening. And a compulsive page -turner. A thirty-five-year-old professor of creative writing, Frannie works with inner-city students, lives in a bohemian neighborhood in Manhattan and loves language, spending hours considering the uses of cultural slang. She even compiles a dictionary of common …
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Brian ()
Ranked #28
I've spent years trying to make others happy & not really focusing on what's most important in my own life. Having said that, my own health & security are paramount so now I'm more … more
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About this movie


Based on Susanna Moore's popularnovel,In the Cutcenters 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 Cutis 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 sinceTaxi DriverorSeven, 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.--Bret Fetzer
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Director: Jane Campion
DVD Release Date: February 10, 2004
Runtime: 119 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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