Posted on 8/21/04 01:40 AM
I knew I was in trouble when Jane Campion's name flashed on the screen, and the opening titles sported super-saturated film stock, hand-held camerawork and a tired version of "Que Cera Cera" on the soundtrack.
The film is mired down from the first frame with over-indulgent visual trickery usually reserved for first year film students and Oliver Stone -- the sort of look that stems from taking Breathless and straining it through nearly twenty (20) years of Calvin Klein "Obsession" commercials.
Worse, it's shot thorugh with hackneyed dialogue desperately trying to hold a real world grittiness, so much so that every scene plays false. Mark Ruffalo does his best but the lines leave him little room to manuever. He comes off sounding like every television cop from Baretta to David Caruso's John Kelly. Meg Ryan tries hard to shuck the quirky energy of her romantic comedies but in the end she just ends up looking exhausted.
The writing falls into the trap of scripting those obvious movie characters: The ones with one friend, no family, and while they are well into their thirties and live in a major metropolitan area, seem to have no life experience -- they're world weary and yet shocked by public sex acts, drugs, gay men, and crude humor.
If you had the choice between viewing this film and a highschool production of West Side Story, I'd advise the latter. The musical will have far more realism and grit to it than In the Cut.