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This time, I'm more in the main stream. The critics have not been kind to In The Cut, and I have to agree with them. In The Cut has had a lot of buzz for three reasons, first because it stars Meg Ryan, second because it stars Meg Ryan and it's not a comedy, and third because it stars Meg Ryan and she takes her clothes off onscreen for the first time. The last item may all have more to do with the director of In The Cut, Jane Campion than with Meg Ryan. Campion is best known for directing The Piano for which she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Director and won for Best Screenplay. She also likes the audience to see full frontal of her stars including Holly Hunter (The Piano), Kate Winslet (Holy Smoke), and now Meg Ryan. The only saving grace here is the the man we are seeing full frontal with Meg Ryan is not Harvey Keitel as it was in the other two movies.
In this new movie, Mark Ruffalo fills the Keitel role. He plays a police detective investigating a gruesome murder by a serial killer. He interviews a writer (Ryan) who was seen at the same bar as the victim the night she died. Soon the interviewing is going on between the sheets. See above. Anyway, In The Cut is meant to be a film noir type story with lots of suspicion and intrigue. But there are only two other major characters, Ryan's sister played by the always good but slightly twisted, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Ruffalo's partner (Nick Damici). Since the script for this movie is from the film noir playbook, we know that the killer and any future victims are likely to chosen from amongst these four people. This makes the plot developments fairly easy to foresee.
This could have been a good movie but it isn't. I mostly blame the script. It meanders around and never really gets going. It's a whodunit but there's really only one clue which makes Ryan suspect Ruffalo of the murder. But of course, it can't be him! I'm not really giving much away here. Ryan, Ruffalo and Leigh are all good in their roles but they are wasted in this movie. It is certainly not true that Ryan can't play a straight role. Check her out in Proof of Life and especially Courage Under Fire. If I can digress for a moment, I would recommend renting Courage Under Fire rather than going to see In The Cut. It is a very good film about the first Gulf War also starring Denzel Washington, Scott Glenn and Matt Damon. Anyway, I was very disappointed in In The Cut. It's the kind of movie that makes me want to look at my watch. I just didn't care that much by the time it got to the end of the movie. And the payoff wasn't satisfying because you don't know in the end why any of the characters did what they did. Rent Courage Under Fire instead.