Main cast: Meg Ryan (Frannie), Mark Ruffalo (Det Giovanni Malloy), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Pauline), Nick Damici (Det Richard Rodriguez), Sharrieff Pugh (Cornelius Webb), and Kevin Bacon (John Graham)
Director: Jane Campion
Warning (or perve-alert, depending on your tastes): Meg Ryan does the full monty, stimulates masturbation and orgasm, and rapes a handcuffed man in this “erotic thriller” In the Cut. Mark Ruffalo obligingly also bares all, showing the world that he can actually say things like “fuck you hard, lick your pussy” and some people (ahem) can still swoon from the animal romanticism of it all.
Unlike the dull and cold novel of the same name by Susanna Moore from which this movie is adapted from, this movie gives the audience lots of trashy stuff while pretending that just because it’s miserable people getting naked a lot a la every other arty European movie out there, it’s not softporn, it’s art. Whether it is good softporn is debatable. The gratuitous salaciousness is limited to a few key scenes only and those expected a non-stop “Meg”a Boinkathon will be bored silly.
Frannie is an English language teacher that writes poetry inspired by snippets of poetry on the subway train she takes every morning. She’s a stereotypical “creative type” character: she wants to have sex but she’s too frigid to have any, and her half-sister Pauline is the typical promiscuous type that keeps getting the wrong type of men in her life. There is some mention of Frannie’s father abandoning her mother, causing Mommy to die from grief, which may explain Frannie’s neurotic state of mind. But she is still a contrived character. Ditto Pauline.
Instead of hitting the singles bar in search for some cute one-night-stand candidate, she instead spies on a man getting a blowjob at the back of a restaurant. There is a murder around her place and Dete Malloy, the sexiest cop on the planet if you ask me, comes around for the usual Q&A. She recognizes from a tattoo on his hand that he may be the guy getting lucky at the restaurant, and this strengthens her resolve to have sex with him. In a sensible story, I don’t think a woman needs a reason as extreme as murder to pounce on someone that looks like Malloy even with his unfortunate porn star moustache, but this is an arty movie, remember, and in arty movies, people get naked with sour-prune expressions on their faces. After a gauzy but explicit love scene, Frannie starts questioning whether Malloy may know more about the murders than he lets on. Oh dearie.
Susanna Moore wrote the script to this movie in a collaboration with Jane Campion, but she actually creates more loose ends and plot holes in this movie compared to her book. Until the last twenty or so minutes, In the Cut is trashy and enjoyable in a low-brow way. But the identity of the murderer along with the rushed denouement only brings up more questions that are never answered even in future re-watching of the movie (which I swear I do only for closer study of Mark Ruffalo’s, er, acting). This irritating closure of the movie sinks it from an enjoyable guilty pleasure to a shoddy movie.
Still, thank you so much to Mark Ruffalo for being in this movie. It’s been really a great pleasure, I assure you.