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In the Cut - Uncut Director's Edition  (2003)


Starring: Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Director: Jane Campion

Rating: R

Distributor: Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment

Release Date: February 10, 2004
Review posted: March 7, 2004

Spoilers: Minor


Reviewed by Dennis Landmann




Frannie Avery (Ryan), a New York writing professor, has an erotic affair with a police detective (Ruffalo) investigating a murder of a beautiful young woman in her neighborhood.




Yeah, Meg Ryan bares it all in this film by Jane Campion (The Piano). Well, she bares almost all of her body. That is probably the film's only interesting aspect in my opinion as the plot is pretty much off-balance. The synopsis above is quite vague, so here is a little more about the film. Ruffalo's Malloy comes on to Frannie as he solves the murder. Rather sooner than later they have sex, creating a tension that builds as time goes on. It turns out he sports the same tattoo Franny saw on a man getting a blowjob by a girl at a bar. It turns out that girl is dead and Malloy is investigating. Coincidence? Maybe. In any case, the script attempts to build suspense around this fact. Meanwhile, Franny looks to get on with her job teaching at the university. One of her students is more than friendly to her, and when she's not teaching Frannie spends time with her sister (Leigh).


Really, a lot of time passes where nothing really happens. The film moves slow at times, some scenes should've been cut or shortened. Character interactions between Franny and Malloy are sometimes a bit awkward, especially when he takes her out to the woods to learn how to shoot a gun. Foreshadowing? Yeah, too easy. Some of their discussions are well written, but the other parts of the script are just not interesting. As a character, Frannie seems frail even though the script appears to make her strong-willed and independent. I don't know, I'm a bit conflicted about that. It seems Jane Campion casts an unlikely and unfair dark shadow on Malloy. Deceiving? Mostly. You'll probably understand what I mean if you get to the ending. Also, Frannie's ex-boyfriend shows up one day played by Kevin Bacon in a cameo. I didn't know he was in the film, and frankly the character seemed out of place, but I liked Bacon's performance.


Moreover, In The Cut contains several gruesome moments. The demise of a known character is not terribly explicit, but the implication is quite shocking as I didn't expect it. Also, for some reason Campion gives New York City a gloomy appearance. Whether that is supposed to play along the film's muted plotline is anyone's guess, but the city has never looked so boring to me before. Then again, I've been there only once and it's only natural some areas might actually be boring in real-life. Either way, the quote "made 100% in New York city" during the end credits is not all that encouraging.


Overall, In The Cut fails to make its plot interesting and compelling. Some parts showed promise, but the script just didn't work. As far as performances go, Ryan does a good job, but is not able to carry this film out of the slump that is the  weak script. Mark Ruffalo does a very nice job and keeps a cool composure opposite Ryan, especially during the sex scenes. Call him professional or lucky, or maybe both. In the end, you can cut In The Cut from your rental list because there are much better films out there involving Ryan, Ruffalo, Leigh, and Campion.




Columbia presents In the Cut in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colors are well-saturated but not that bright, yet detail is crisp and sharp. Black levels and dark tones look good. The print appears in good condition and artifacts did not occur. Grain exists, but that's expected. Overall, a clean transfer in the overall sense.




Columbia presents In the Cut in English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound. Mostly audio driven, the soundtrack is presented with minimal surround sound activity, yet all the dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The music score sounds nice, and a few of the sound effects are presented effectively. Other than that, a fine presentation that's good but nothing special.

A French 5.1 Dolby Digital track is also available.




This uncut release adds a few more shots to an explicit sex scene; a character gets a blowjob, bringing the total running time to 119 minutes as opposed to the theatrical cut's 118. You can imagine the footage is graphic, but I wasn't offended. The MPAA would definitely slap this uncut edit with an NC-17, but I say "bullshit." This is not hardcore porn at all, instead it's a lowly attempt at softcore. The R-rating should be able to sustain a graphic sex scene. If it can't, create a rating pertaining to adults and leave the children out of the discussion for once. Anyway, the scene is not important and I've gone off-topic, sorry.


In terms of extras, there's a fairly decent audio commentary by director Jane Campion and producer Laurie Parker. Both of them go into a few interesting discussions, but overall it's not everyone's cup of tea. If you liked the film you're likely to get more out of the track. Next is a slightly above-average making-of featurette showing on-set footage, interviews, and all those other familiar things. For anybody interested in the film's "slang," check out the slang dictionary featurette. It's a nice try, but ultimately a worthless extra. Rounding out the bonus material are several theatrical trailers, including In the Cut.


Menus are animated and easy to navigate. You can select to view the film with optional English and French subtitles. The 119-minute feature is organized into twenty-eight chapters. A paper insert lists scene selections and title recommendations.




Don't waste your time with this film, unless you wish to see Meg Ryan in the nude. In that case, give it a rent. The film is not completely bad, but the very very few moments that intrigued me are incidentally too minimal. Sony's video/audio is fine, and the extras are fine, too. I'd say skip this film, but some parts are worth to make it a rent it recommendation, yet only bare-ly. Hehe, get it. Okay, a juvenile joke.




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