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In the Cut

Everything you knew about desire is dead wrong.  

Year: 2003 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from In the Cut

Having starred in several romantic comedies, she has been perceived as one of America's sweethearts. In Jane Campion's raw thriller In the Cut, Meg Ryan breaks the mould courageously revealing a new side.

Who better to direct an erotic thriller than Jane Campion? She seems to know a fair bit about showing skin and inserting sexuality as themes in most of her films.  You could say it's in the way she writes these complex tales, or even that it's in the way her films look and feel. Either way, there is poetry in the movement of her images. But as much as style can be cordial in a movie like In the Cut, there needs to be a plot to hold our interest and, happily, there is.

James Malloy (Ruffalo) is a self-confident detective, who happens to be investigating a series of disturbing murders. The discovery of a severed human limb leads him to Frannie Avery (Ryan), a high school English teacher. Frannie is an unusal character; she is reserved and innocent-looking, but has more sexual fantasies than a thirteen year old who discovers dirty magazines for the first time. She tries hard to remain pure and makes efforts to look like she can live with herself, but she can't.

Malloy and Avery get closer as the case widens and let themselves go, ending up having passionate sex. This is a dangerous move, to mix pleasure with work, according to the classic cop thrillers. However, this is part of Campion's method to make us fear the truth.  The intrigue quickly kicks in when Frannie begins to suspect Malloy of being more than just a good cop and an exceptional lover. She believes he may be the killer.

Campion co-wrote the screenplay with Susanne Moore, who also wrote the book the film is based on. In the Cut is a haunting film, well-acted, cloaked in dark scenery, occurring in a city made to look like hell. And in the middle is the witness-detective relationship which you tell is going to make for a tense and thrilling climax to the story.

Percival Tucker

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Spring Term (35mm)