Friday, 18 November 2016

Retro Review: In The Cut (2003)

In The Cut
2003
Cast: Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kevin Bacon 
Genre: Mystery/Erotic Thriller
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over £23 million

Plot: An English teacher has an affair with a detective - though she suspects him of murdering a woman








'2 Hours Of My Life I'll Never Get Back'

I've always associated Meg Ryan through happy, good-hearted rom-com offerings in When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail and besides that this has led to typecasting in roles for Meg, I would have never expected someone like her (or even Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts) being in a film as tawdry and bad as In The Cut. If this was an attempt to shed her so-called 'wholesome' image by playing against type, then it backfired with disastrous consequences: that & I'd much rather take her rom-coms over this botched-up mess. 

In The Cut is another on my list of the worst movies I've had the displeasure of experiencing; after all the talk about Meg Ryan doing a complete 180 degrees and opting for a role, which not only took me and millions of people by surprise, but it was a role that with a better script, better characterisation and empathetic portrayal of the lead character, even if it was still awful, at least the lead character was deemed likeable and came across as a respectable individual to make us want to care about what happens to her. 

Unfortunately, however, no thanks to Jane Campion (and even more shockingly Nicole Kidman, who was one of the producers of this film), that all went out of the window and by ditching the characterisation, she has delivered one of the most contrived and terrible movies undoubtedly, - and a terrible and excruciatingly tedious erotic thriller that ever existed. All the characters in this film are portrayed as sordid, messed up and that they had no intention of becoming better people. One point towards the end, I'd hoped the token African- American student - who was a nice guy and was pleasant enough at first - would be the one redeemable character throughout this movie, who wasn't so screwed up or came across as being nasty. But no - Campion and the writer of the script had to mess that one up and made him look like a pervert, as he tried to rape Meg Ryan's character. Yes, really nice (not). And in having a film with virtually no likeable characters you want to root for, that spells trouble. 

Ryan's character, meanwhile, comes across as cold, obnoxious and demoralising in desperate need of sex, so much so, I didn't really care what she did, say or what had happened to her. Her performance is the worst I have seen of hers on screen that I still find it hard to believe that she would sign up for a movie, as trashy as this. Like I mentioned, ditching her clean-cut, wholesome rom-com image in favour of one that is darker, wouldn't have mattered much in my eyes - HAD that character been likeable and redeemable. But school teacher Frannie isn't likeable, and none of the things she'd done redeemed her image. 

Mark Ruffalo's cop character is foul-mouthed, sleazy and crude, that I still find it hard to believe why he wasn't made to be the actual killer in the end. I really wanted him to be unveiled as the real killer, He was so unappealing throughout I was like 'c'mon, make him the bad guy'. But again, Campion and co copped out on this one and decided otherwise, much to the detriment of the plot and the events that occur within the story. I wasn't convinced by their chemistry as a pairing and I thought that it was odd that they ended up sleeping together. Much of the movie is supposed to emphasise the relationship between Malloy and Frannie -yet their relationship is based on nothing, nowt, zilch. They have no real emotions. 

Finally, Kevin Bacon and Jennifer Jason Leigh are two of the most underrated actors in Hollywood; therefore, it baffles me why given they have given far better performances in their other movies, they'd chose to associate themselves with this mess. Their characters weren't much to write home about, either. 

The plot makes absolutely zero sense and the story, the longer it dragged, becomes inconsistent with plot twists that arrive out of nowhere - yet of which are illogical. As for the violence and sex scenes, again there was a lot of talk about that, but really there were so minimal and the rest of the film was just utterly dreary, depressing and boring as hell. In The Cut also has this heavily stylised look to it in order to sensationalise the things that occur within the film, but this is used to mask over the film's fatal flaws, i.e. lack of suspense, and inadequacies. 

The revealing of the killer turns out to be anti-climatic and with no real clues or hints, motives, nor backstory, but rather kill a bunch of people in order to satisfy a cheap ending, which this movie has, the film suffers greatly just by choosing to ignore this convention, it makes you question why the director/writer came to this conclusion, when it doesn't stack up. That, and there is no real mystery or suspense and at times, the dialogue that is being uttered by the characters is so uninspired and bordering on mundane. It seems like no one, be it Jane Campion or the producer cared less who the killer is, or ought to be. 

Basically, In The Cut deserves to be cut up into itty bitty pieces and fed to the sharks. 





Final Verdict:

This is a pretentious yet boring attempt of an erotic thriller with unsavoury and messed up characters and plot twists so unbelievable, yet exist just to play around with and to manipulate the audience.  

Seeing the likes of Kevin Bacon and Jennifer Jason Leigh, who are too talented to be in a waste of a film like this, was disappointing. But more to it, In The Cut is so awful as a film, it was also one that pretty much derailed - or be it signalled the end of Meg Ryan's career and since this clunker of an effort, she hasn't starred in a decent movie since. In The Cut is to Meg Ryan as Eat Pray Love is to Julia Roberts: movies which essentially killed their careers as both actresses are miscast in their roles as dislikable lead characters, in their attempts to shed their rom-com pretty girl image. Both failed. 

Misguided, dreary, depressing and bizarre - yet at times utterly reprehensible behaviours from the characters, forgettable and soulless supporting characters along with a taut script, this R-rated softcore thriller offers in the way of little to cheap thrills, whilst the sex scenes weren't great and the film ultimately descends into predictable schlock.  

In The Cut is a crude, mean-spirited torrid movie with so-called protagonist characters, whose actions make them cross across as bad as the antagonists. At the end, I was asking myself, 'what was the point?'.

Not only was it an extraordinarily long-winded film, it was an awful and cold one to boot as well.   

& I just didn't like it. 



Overall:


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