Lower East Side Manhattan, New York City. High School teacher and writer Frannie Avery (a liberated Meg Ryan) goes to the Red Turtle Bar to meet one of her students Cornelius Webb (a debut role for Sharrieff Pugh). When she excuses herself to go down to the basement for a visit to the ladies she witnesses a man standing in the shadows receiving a blow job from a young blond women with blue diamond encrusted fingernails, the one thing she does notice about the man is a distinctive tattoo on his wrist. Not sure if she has been seen she makes a quick exit and leaves the bar. The next day she gets a visit from Detective James Malloy (Mark Ruffalo in a part that fits him like a glove) who asks if she saw anything that may help the police in a gruesome murder of the girl with blue diamond encrusted finger nails last seen alive in the Red Turtle. She is immediately drawn to the Detective and encouraged by her half sister Pauline (a very sexy Jennifer Jason Leigh) she accepts his invitation to go for a drink. It’s on this date that she notices that Malloy has the same tattoo as the man who received sexual gratification from the murder victim! As the death toll increases, each one of the victims gets closer to Frannie.
As well as the actors mentioned above we have Kevin Bacon who plays a very spooky character John Graham the ex-boyfriend of Frannie who stalk’s her every move even turning up in her flat. Frannie’s rejection appears to have affected his metal state. Nick Damici plays Malloy’s partner Detective Richard Rodrigues who has been assigned to desk duties because of his violent nature towards his wife.
Based on a novel by Susanna Moore In the Cut (2003) has been adapted by the author and the films award winning director Jane Campion, whose list of credits include The Piano (1993), Portrait of a Lady (1996) which starred one of the two producers of this erotic thriller: Nicole Kidman, Holy Smoke (1999), Bright Star (2009) and the TV mini series Top of the Lake (2013).
‘A sensuous study of desire and masochism wrapped around a straight up thriller’ Basically the study of female sexual psychology and the attraction of fear which leaves women intimidated and excited at the same time. We have two female singletons whose sex life is not straight forward, one of which is having a restraining order taken out on her to stop her sexually harassing a married doctor while the other, Frannie, has obvious pent up sexual desires. The reason that this film has been labelled provocative is because the more Frannie believes that Malloy is the killer of the three brutally murdered women the more she is drawn to him ‘turned on not just by his cunnilingus technique but also by his potentially lethal power’ This dark noir type drama extends Meg Ryan’s acting capabilities and allows her complicity with the exploration of sex for pleasure and not necessarily for love! This well researched cinema verite is well acted and New York is particularly well photographed but it is quite explicate and I would suggest one for the more open minded cineaste.