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October 23, 2003


In the Cut

OK, so it's not a perfect movie. It has also been overly harshly dissed by critics everywhere, with a few notable exceptions (like the LA Times review that says it "may be the most maddening and imperfect great movie of the year.") Maybe I liked it more than other people did because I really like the book, and there are many faithful scenes and dialogues. Either way, In the Cut is a movie about a lonely woman who keeps herself disconnected from a world full of threats and dangers, until she becomes intrigued and drawn out by this very danger. And Mark Ruffalo and his sexy mustache. The problem is, the woman can't distinguish intrigue and spicy excitement from real threats, makes wrong choice after wrong choice, and gets in over her head. Jane Campion didn't cut much from the book, and added a lot of symbolism and themes, a few of which are improvements on the book.

What she left in almost entirely is all the sex. I believe that it was all very well executed, was shot almost without any sound at all (no huffing and puffing, moaning, ill-advised exclamations, etc.) but I may have lost consciousness briefly after one of the especially filthy parts, or during one of the all-too-brief uncut imtimate glimpses of Mark Ruffalo, Sex Machine. I think an intermission should probably be added to screenings of this movie, so that viewers can go take a shower and have a cigarette about half way through. And so that we can all quickly re-read The Gift of Fear, to learn any lessons we might have forgotten about paying attention to your self-preservation instinct when faced with danger.

Anyway, there are some really good performances here. Meg Ryan displays some similarities with a sleepwalker, which is not a completely wrong choice for this role. She also looks believably like a dowdy frump, or at least, as much like a dowdy frump as anyone who lives below 14th Street can. Mark Ruffalo, Sex God, is outstanding and brutish and sexy, and very naturally talks like a cop who grew up in Washington Heights. There are some pacing problems; some symbolism is clumsy; sometimes the focus didn't have to be quite so blurry and indistinct, though it was sometimes effective; it's still a good movie. But maybe read the book first.

categories: Movies
posted by amy at 9:56 AM | #


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