In the Cut (1/10)
2003 by Tony Medley
giveaway of vacuous writers and directors is the number of times they
use the “F” word. Using
this as a criterion, Writer-Director Jane Campion and writer Susan Moore
are vacuity personified. It
seems as if every other word in In the Cut is the “F” word.
enough. But even worse is
the way they degrade women. Men, in this case Detective Malloy (Mark Ruffalo) and his
partner Detective Rodriquez (Nick Damici), talk their gutter language
around women, showing them not even a modicum of respect. Apparently
Campion wants men to forget about putting on good manners when they’re
around women and just act like some low class men do when they’re out
with their buddies at a strip bar.
And to designate this as “low class” is giving this film more
than it deserves.
of a plot. Frannie (Meg Ryan) is an English teacher who has a sister who
lives above a strip bar. She’s as unhappy as she can be.
A woman is killed and maimed outside Frannie’s window and
Detectives Malloy and Rodriquez are assigned to investigate. Malloy apparently is attracted to Frannie, so he pursues her
and they strike up a relationship. Ostensibly this is a murder mystery.
In fact, it’s just soft-core porn with a plot that’s merely an
excuse to show as many disgusting scenes as they can fit in.
around nude much of the time. Ruffalo
displays frontal nudity. They
perform innumerable varied unerotic sex acts on one another, and little
is left to the imagination. Their
language is constantly profane. We
see many body parts. I can’t imagine the purpose for making such a
deplorable movie. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to spend one
hour fifty-eight minutes sitting through this slime. The real tipoff on
Director Campion is that with all the nudity and sex, it’s not even
the slightest bit erotic. There’s
no tenderness or affection between Frannie and Malloy. What Frannie and
Malloy do is just raw sex and it’s not titillating to watch. When
they’re together it’s like watching a hooker and her john.
discredit it encourages rough sex. At one point while buck-naked
Frannie’s sitting astride Malloy. He’s not getting the pleasure he
wants, so he instructs her to hit him.
She complies with a roundhouse right. He responds with a smack of
his own, and while they’re belting each other I guess they both
achieve their orgasms. Still want to see this? Read on.
This film is
on such a low level of intellect that Campion can’t set up any kind of
reason for a romance between Frannie and Malloy. They never have an
intelligent conversation. They
just use the “F” word all the time. It’s “f’ing” this and
“f’ing” that. Every minute of every hour.
weren’t enough, we see graphic shots of severed body parts, although
the most obscene mutilation we see in this film is what Ryan does to her
career and reputation. Then, mercifully, we get to the end, the final
denouement. But if you blink, you’ll miss the climax. It’s over in a
One thing this
movie lacks is suspense, even though Frannie is apparently the dumbest
woman in creation, constantly putting herself in jeopardy, walking
dangerous streets at night alone, getting into cars with people she
barely knows. How did she survive this long?
consider that the main movers of this are women, you wonder about their
slant because you’ll never see a more misogynistic film. I’ve seen
films with feminist slants, but this one is beyond prior bounds. These
female filmmakers want to take away from women all the respect that good
men give them. How? One way is by normalizing the vulgar language that
Malloy and Rodriquez use to and around Frannie, by having Frannie accept
it, respond in kind, and become attracted to Malloy, who is nothing more
than a rude, licentious, bum. This film debases women in general and
The worst part
of this film is that Meg Ryan is displaying to the world what little
respect she has for her character, her reputation, and her loyal
audience who has grown to love the bright, beautiful characters she has
generally played. She cheapens herself in this film. This isn’t
acting. It’s an act of personal devastation.
disappointing is the cinematography by Dion Beebe, which I can only
describe as “film school chic.” Lots of hand held cameras, low, dark
lighting, and unfocused shots. To
give one example, Frannie’s talking to her sister and they both stand
up and what we see are unfocused chests and waists, like you were
videotaping two women talking and they suddenly got up when you were
unprepared for the move. It’s oh, so avant-garde, and oh, so
self-congratulatory. Given the script and the plot, it wouldn’t
surprise me if Director Campion were the only one accountable, but Dion
Beebe is a respected cinematographer, responsible for films like Chicago.
Beebe should know better, but, then, so should Ryan.
So, in a
nutshell, this is a Fescennine film with little plot, a poorly written,
vulgar script, lots of unerotic nudity and raw sex acts, vile shots of
dismembered body parts, disrespect for women, and no reason for being
except to watch a heretofore beloved actress attempt to commit career
suicide. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch Meg Ryan again
without thinking of this obscenity.