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September 18, 2003


In the Cut

We've had a link or two about it on the Amy's Robot Link Factory™, and we've mentioned it in passing, I think, but it's now time for us to start whole-hearted, explicit coverage of the upcoming Jane Campion movie In the Cut, which is based on Susanna Moore's short novel of the same name.

The novel caused a bit of a stir when it came out because of its unapologetically graphic sexuality. The story's narrator, a professor at NYU, gets herself involved with a hard-boiled detective who is investigating a murder she may have some information about.

Much has been made of the book's twist ending and whether this ending will be repeated in the film, but it seems to me that Campion has a more difficult choice to make: Will she echo the tone of the book's callow, self-destructive narrator? Moore's book makes you a little seasick because the narrator is not a particularly likeable or sympathetic character and she repeatedly engages in behavior so wrong you're eventually left navigating her world without a moral compass, and you can't know whom to trust, like, or care about. It seems to me that this will be difficult to capture on film, but not impossible: Vertigo, Husbands and Wives, and maybe Pi accomplish a similar kind of moral disorientation. With this tone, Moore does something new, or at least unusual, for a mystery novel, which is that instead of taking the easy way out and making her untrustworthy main character a suspect, she has that character establish her innocence but still maintain an air of "unknowability" that heightens the suspense of the story and intensifies the reader's visceral response to the narrator's world. Nicole Kidman was an obvious casting choice, but still somehow brilliant -- combine her performance in Eyes Wide Shut with To Die For, and you get the idea -- but she abandoned the role after a long flirtation, eventually being replaced by Meg Ryan. So can Ryan pull it off? A lot of people don't like her or think so, but I do. Take a look at her in Courage Under Fire, or re-imagine Addicted to Love as a stalker film instead of a romantic comedy, and then, like me, you will have faith. No one I know seems to have any doubts about Ryan's co-star in the film, Mark Ruffalo, playing the dirty cop. One friend of mine's clitoris almost exploded the other day when the report about Ruffalo's reportedly prodigious "talent" came out.

categories: Movies
posted by adm at 3:38 PM | #


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