new blog/tired steven
beat me beat me

in the cut (jane campion, 2003)

More than a year ago, some friends and I got into a terrible argument that had the movie In the Cut as part of the discussion. One problem was that I hadn't seen the film.

Well, I just watched it. With some trepidation, I admit ... I have no desire to relive that argument, so I was praying that I would like the movie so I wouldn't have to say anything bad about it here.

And now that I've seen it, all I can think of is to ask "is that all there is?" It's an incoherent "thriller" with pretensions towards saying something important ... like far too many movies that try to adapt genre conventions to Big Statements, In the Cut does a terrible job of being a thriller, and is probably proud of that fact. I imagine director Jane Campion would say I've missed the point, that I should move beyond the genre and see what she's "really" doing, but the movie is a mess, and that's not my fault, it's hers. When she's making the Big Statements about What Women Want and What Sex Means and Aren't Men Dicks, she may be sophomoric but at least she's paying attention to what she's doing. But the "thriller" is sloppy, as if Campion couldn't be bothered, which is fine, but why make a thriller if you aren't interested enough to get it right? There are loose plot threads everywhere, along with the proverbial plot holes you can drive the proverbial truck through, yet I don't think Campion cares or wants us to care.

Clearly I'm not the only person who thinks the film is a failure. IMDB viewers give it 5.1 out of 10, while Metacritic, which tallies critical opinion, gives it 46 out of 100. But my friends loved the film, as did the Chronicle's Mick LaSalle, who had the Little Man falling out of his chair. But I thought it was a nothing film, not good but also not bad enough to be worth the time I've spent writing about it here. I suspect if it wasn't for our argument last year, I'd forget I'd even seen this movie a month from now.


Charlie Bertsch

Well, the argument obviously wasn't about the movie, since you hadn't seen it, but what you wrote in response to my thoughts on the movie.

In retrospect, I like In the Cut less than I did at the time. Both Kim and I remarked back then that it wasn't much of a thriller. We liked the other stuff, while you clearly did not.

I have to say, also, that I didn't exactly regard that furor last year as our finest hour or yours. Reading your subject header made my stomach lurch even before I started reading your entry.

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