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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( 66:55)
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
    English, Spanish, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Croatian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Serbian
  • 5 Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary
  • 2 Featurette

In the Cut

Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 114 mins . R . PAL


What do you do when your ‘thriller’ is found lacking by way of mystery, originality or complexity? That’s right, you add sex.

In the Cut is that kind of film. A film running 114 minutes that would have been much better trimmed to 90 and given a decent storyline. When people say 'erotic thriller' I am usually compelled to switch off and wait for DVD if I bother to see it at all. The erotic factor is usually imported to add appeal to the final lacking product or is included because there never really was a decent product to begin with. I’m not sure which is the case here, but this film is sadly lacking in both parts anyway.

Our brief story here deals with Frannie Avery (Meg Ryan) who is an English teacher studying slang. When she is interviewed by a Detective Giovanni Malloy (Mark Ruffalo) regarding a recent bloody murder, the two hit it off and start dating (sexily). However, the more Frannie learns of the detective, the more she begins to suspect that he is more connected to the murders than he lets on...

Seeing Jane Campion appear as the director in the opening titles lent this film some credibility as it begun and the opening scenes are quite beautiful, but after this it swiftly deteriorates into a sleazy soft porn film in which staple characters are chasing a mysterious killer. Mysterious nothin’. If you can’t predict the killer before halfway I’ll be surprised and the red herring thrown in (you’ll know it when you see it) is laughable and so poorly disguised as to be a cardboard cutout. While Campion has made brilliant films before, In the Cut is as clichéd and as trite as any B-grade film that includes sex to at least try and pull the punters in.

"Slang is either sexual or violent…"

The addition of Meg Ryan as the sultry lead character is also a bit foolish. Meg, much as I love her groundbreaking work in erotic theatre, is not a sultry sexpot no matter what light you throw her in. She even gets her gear off a couple of times and this is pretty much pure titillation. Mark Ruffalo, as an investigator who’s getting too close to the case (yawn), also throws his duds out the window and between the two of them, well, it didn’t do much for me I gotta say.

In the Cut also makes use of that other erotic thriller staple in Jennifer Jason Leigh who actually doesn’t get into anything remotely sexual, which may have been a refreshing change for her. The film, while beautifully shot and convincingly acted (Kevin Bacon even turns up for about eight minutes and does a dynamite job) has no story other than its premise of sexual interest and this is about as sexy as watching flies do it on your kitchen window sill.


Made last year, the film has been shot and transferred magnificently. The colour is especially amazing here as the film makes heavy use of filters to portray that darker mood. Symbolism too is heavy throughout, and this is heavily colour oriented and thankfully looks fantastic, if a little out of place at times (the symbols, not the colour). Plenty of handheld cameras do the job here too, adding an intimacy that does get a little uncomfortable at times, but this has been handled fairly well overall. There are myriad interior shots in darkness and there wasn’t a single moment in which I could see anything even resembling a grainy picture, so nice work there.

Blacks are usually natural throughout, although once or twice they shift to a deep blue while shadow detail is as good as Campion has let us have it throughout (meaning if there isn’t any, it’s deliberate). The quality of this 1.85:1 enhanced transfer is quite astounding in its clarity and cleanliness and does do the film proud. And of one other note, the film is set in New York City post September 11 and there’s scads of American Pride all over the place, which I’m not sure has any real relevance to the film other than a director’s comment perhaps.


The sound setup here is again quite good and features a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround deal. The surrounds get a fair workout, but generally just for music and distant city noise. The subwoofer has little but deeper dialogue and music to support and it does this alright too. The dialogue throughout is spattered with poetry and verses used to appear relevant to the film context, but as is usually the case with poetry it is quite open to interpretation. Meg Ryan’s character Frannie Avery is an English teacher and she is studying slang and whereas this starts the film strongly it soon disappears and makes one of the extras quite irrelevant, but I’ll come to that.

Musically the film is scored by Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and this is a curious mix of orchestral and sultry, seductive saxophones and such. Not a bad score and well suited to the film, it makes its way around the surrounds constantly throughout.


The audio commentary from director Jane Campion and producer Laurie Parker is a very ordinary affair in which they discuss the various sub-stories behind the plot. Thankfully there isn’t any bland description of what we can already see on screen and the women do well enough for their very first commentary. Unfortunately there is that boring arse-kissing at times and some of those "oh, he was great"s.

Frannie Avery’s Slang Dictionary is one of the most inconsequential and pointless featurettes I’ve yet suffered, describing silly slang bits that are already described in the film or words that sound like they might apply to the film, had they been included in the script. Which they weren’t. A time-wasting 2:34 in which you will learn nothing of interest.

In the Cut: Behind the Scenes is the usual promotional type of thing done in an electronic press kit style. It has a few minor insights into the story though there’s not a lot of story that doesn’t get uncovered in the film… because there isn’t a lot of story. 15:42 and slightly above average interview-wise.

Finally, a swag of trailers for other ‘sexy’ numbers in Sin, Motives, Auto Focus and Wild Things 2. Okay, so not all are ‘sexy’, but I did use the word in ‘quotation marks’ so it might have been a ‘joke’.

Oh, and the In the Cut trailer which gives nothing away, including the desire to watch the film.


The title doesn’t get explained in any real way and is even kinda misleading. I thought I’d been chosen for the football squad. However, the film is beautifully shot, which is one thing it has going for it. Personally the ‘erotic thriller’ handle works well as a warning alarm for me and it is justified here. There’s no real storyline, the red herring is quite insulting to our intelligence and the sexy bits aren’t even all that sexy. There’s probably some novelty value in seeing Meg Ryan or Mark Ruffalo in the buff or Jennifer Jason Leigh in an erotic thriller with her clothes on, but other than that, this film’s got not a lot on offer.

A more apt title might be In the Bin.

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      And I quote...
    "In the Cutting room it is important to remove boring bits, not include them to pad out an empty story to just under two hours."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-T29S32S 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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