I’m a huge fan of erotic thrillers, and Jane Campion’s absurdly sexy and nearly overwhelmingly stylish neo-noir In the Cut is a film that I watch nearly once a year, so as to be reminded of that filmmaker’s intense sense of craft, mood, and tone, and because, well, Meg Ryan absolutely steams up the screen in the most overtly sexual performance from her that I’ve ever seen. This is a kinky murder mystery with lots of red-herrings and possibly duplicitous characters, with Mark Ruffalo, Nick Damici, Patrice O’Neal, Kevin Bacon, and Jennifer Jason Leigh all delivering sketchy and electric supporting performances. The nudity factor is high in this film, with Ryan baring all multiple times, and Ruffalo letting it all hang out in more ways than one.
Dion Beebe’s smeary and impressionistic cinematography stresses reds, oranges, and warm colors all throughout, and the purposefully jagged visual style was in perfect tandem with the emotionally thorny narrative and the potentially violent characters on display. The feminist overtones are also deeply interesting and fascinating to observe; the film sort of feels like an updated version of Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Critics were mixed, box office was non-existent, and it got an “F” letter grade from mouth-breathing “Cinemascore audiences,” but I think this is a damn fine piece of work that looks and feels like few other films I can think of. And besides – that title!!! In the Cut is available on Region-Free Blu-ray, DVD, and various streaming providers.
Review by Nick Clement