Using the sentimental ditty "Que Sera Sera" to eye-rolling effect as an ironic theme for a victim-protagonist with dangerously poor romantic judgment, Jane Campion's erotic thriller/murder mystery "In the Cut" proves to be neither erotic (who would want to sleep with a creepy cop who always wears a deceitful grimace?) nor thrilling, but merely baleful and unpleasant.
Adapted from Susanna Moore's 1995 novel in a collaboration between author and director, the film stars Meg Ryan -- in a welcome, commanding departure from her screen-sweetheart career trap -- as an emotionally wary creative writing teacher at a Lower Manhattan high school who becomes the unwitting center of gravity in a series of gruesome dismemberment murders of young women.
But the plot turns on her psychologically reckless relationship with Mark Ruffalo ("You Can Count On Me"), the pushy, callously manipulative lead detective on the case, with whom she falls into bed even though she's suspects he may be the killer, having seen a man bearing his distinctive three-of-spades tattoo embroiled with the first victim in the shadows of a local dive shortly before her death.
Continue reading: In The Cut Review