"in the cut" was an erotic novel written by susanna moore before jane campion adapted it into a woman's picture stirred with family drama, romance, trust. gore and sex. i read that damned novel before i watched the picture, which didn't interest me at all for the sake of meg ryan (=chick flick).jane campion tends to quieten and soften the brash tone of sadomasochistic perversion in the book, where susanna moore reveals her thick obsession with fellatio and forcible semi-rape fornications.
basically the scenario is a literature-teacher accidentally witnessing a woman performing fellatio to a man in local bar when she tries to find a restroom. later she discovers the fellatio-girl is murdered by the man, whom she guess might be the police lieutenant who inquests her for the peculiar tatoo on his wrist. somehow the woman professor ends up bedding this macho lieutenant who is excellent at oral sex while suspecting he might be the ferocious killer who disposes of the fellatio girl. the condition worsens as the professor's best-friend/half-sister has her head chopped off in the bathroom sink, and at the same time professor finds the remains of her friend's jewlry in the lieutenant's pocket after a naughty fling of stormy lovemaking. so she flees for rescue and leaves the lieutenant handcuffed, but unwisely she's trapped in the hands of the real killer.
i'm a literatue-major, i cannot help but focus on the book, which is harsher, dirtier and far more nasty then the movie could have ever been, written in a pseudo- stream of consciousness way of first person narration. the book could be a feminist noir for having the woman as the one to collect all the fissures of murders just like the detective in noir, of course, conventional noir is male sap crazing for the femme fatale, and here our woman is drooling over men, her homme fatale with her brazen talks of nymphmaniac desires. the most morbid part is probably that she gets titilated to watch that fellatio sex in the bar and masturbate at night imagining her lieutenant as the head-receiver. she's aware this man could be a pervert, murderer and she gets horny for IT, enjoying his various rough ways of abusive matings as well as the notion of him enslavening her on bed. in the end, even the killer is not the lieutenant but it is very obvious why she gets misled so. (because subconsciously the idea of bedding a killer is quite an appetizer to her, and the mixture of gore and orgasm is quite an turn-on for her)...the passage of her naked revelations of desire is actually quite sickening to read along as if this woman wishes to be FUCKED TO DEATH!! wouldn't the noir men in james m cain's novels, like double indemnity, be also like that? they wish for a taste of the super-cunt then perishes with it as walter cannot resist phyllis, as robert mitchum voluntarily chooses to drive together with jane greer in "out of the past" to rush toward self-ruin. this book surely has one of most jaw-dropping ending for self-ruin. ain't noir always about mascochist's reckless cost on the quest of libido-fulfillments?
but the movie is DIFFERENT despite the basic plots are the same. jane campion tenderizes it with a touch of family romance. champion adds the part of the woman's visualized montages of her father proposing to her mom in ice-skating, and her reminiscence of the family past before her dad left her mom with a broken-heart, and that casts a shadow of doubt over her relationships with men. the movie uses that part to reflect the woman's emotional states: when her half-sis is killed, the montage gets deformed into a nightmare of his dad cutting her mom's legs with ice-skater. when she finally survives over the killer's devilish claws, the montage transmutes into her mom terminates the father with a pistol. when she disintegrates the negative pattern of family drama, she could manage to reform a more positive relationship with the opposite sex. meg ryan is far more ladylike than susanna moore's lascivious protagonist in the book, and she acts more like a sympathetically astayed woman who melts with a man due to human frailty and spritual desolation for the lack of a caring father figure. fellatio is only mentioned for the murderous scene and the movie tends to focus much more upon cunniligus to rid off its misogynistic elements.(it's quite an irony such woman-insulting novel is actually written by a woman) jane campion is quite creative to envision ways to joint the genre of noirish horror with the tint of woman's picture, which is about romance and her disorientated journey for affections, but somehow campion might encounter the dillemma of not pleasing audience in both genres. i admire such gritts and courage, and it is indeed pitiful this movie is so under-rated and neglected, even smart critic like rogert ebert cannot really grasp what campion tries to say.
i must say "in the cut" would probably be much cooler if it was directed by david lynch, who is quite good at rendering misogynistic neo-noir materials.
(ps) due to my usual dislike over meg ryan, i think i'm the only one who is fair enough to give it the rating it deserves without bias. honestly meg ryan and mark ruffalo are much hotter in their nudes than i have ever expected!
if the movie is gonna be made as susanna moore wrote in the novel, jennifer jason leigh is probably a much better choice than meg ryan.