Sunday, June 29, 2008

In the Cut

I finally got to see In the Cut with Meg Ryan yesterday. It's dark and gritty and a huge departure for Meg. The big selling point when it was in the theaters was seeing Meg Ryan naked. As a woman who doesn't go for tongue and groove outside of flooring and furniture, I wasn't impressed. As an artist who has painted and drawn many nudes over the decades, I wasn't impressed, except when she was prone and the light was dim; then she looked like a Grecian sculpture. Full frontal, not impressed and not her best side, speaking from a strictly aesthetic standpoint, but she is otherwise quite beautiful and her figure is mature for her age. As a woman who has given birth to children, she is very well preserved. But what stands out about this movie isn't Meg's nudity, but her acting.

Frannie is a schoolteacher, but she is like no schoolteacher I ever had. She is just this side of hippy hip with undertones of the Beat Generation yet still maintains a certain coy innocence that is liberally tinged with avid sexuality and curiosity that is quite alluring. Her character is confused and tentative with people and yet comes alive when faced with words that move her and stimulate her mentally and emotionally.

Meg is still a beautiful woman, but this movie was made before the disastrous My Mom's New Boyfriend and before she gave her beautiful face to the knife and ended up with trout lips. Too much collagen in the lips and not enough brains in the head for her to have messed with such a classic, although of late too thin, beauty. Once again, Meg Ryan prone sunning herself by the pool was a gorgeous sight to behold, before she stood and went full frontal -- face, I mean -- and showed her caricature of a mouth, the ruined curved of those sensuous, uptilted cornered lips defaced by too much collagen or a too big lip implant. Not everyone needs to be Angelina Jolie.

At any rate, In the Cut is a movie that is part thriller, part trip into the psyche of a macho, on-the-make cop who likes to color way outside the edges, and part character study that almost works. The flow is choppy and confusing at times with a raw, almost uncut feel to it, as though made as a second year film student's project, but it did draw me in. Kevin Bacon plays a small part and he's another one who should stay away from the knife, although what has been done works very well for this not-out-of-the-closet, would-be stalker who is so clingy and needy he made me want to run and hide. Yikes! Mark Ruffalo as the homicide detective Frannie keeps trying not to and eventually does fall for is dark and edgy and just barely this side of sleazy. Sharrieff Pugh as the intense English student from Frannie's class who defends John Wayne Gacy is intense and young and very hunky, but that relationship wasn't quite developed enough and seemed erratic at best, but should have had more screen time to develop.

In some ways, In the Cut feels thrown together as though the director chopped up the whole movie in a fit of pique and decided to put it back together without a clear arc or time line. It would be a better movie with a little judicious editing, but otherwise the discordant and jumpy feeling does go well with the jump and erratic Frannie's emotions and life. It's not quite there though. Needs more time to cook before it's done and I hope this is one film that gets a director's cut when the director isn't on or coming off of some very good drugs.

That is all. Disperse.

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