Sunday, February 22, 2004

Making the cut

We rented In the Cut the other night. The Meg Ryan porno. For all the fuss about this movie, it was all a little too uncomfortable to be truly sexy. Though some of the sex helped to more fully paint character, most was gratuitous.

On the whole I enjoyed the movie, but it had a lot of problems.

For starters, there's a glaring continuity problem in one scene, a conversation on a sidewalk. One flamboyantly dressed passerby walks by twice, in the same direction, within seconds. This is simply sloppy editing.

The title is never explained. The film opens on a conversation about sexual slang. It's easy to assume to the title must belong to this category. A web search yields "slang for vagina, the street usage meaning a safe place to hide," as well as a couple references to female circumcision.

The story is fairly predictable and Meg Ryan proves she can act in other than Meg Ryan movies. But her character is tough to figure out — partly deliberately so, but some of fault for this must lie with the direction and with the script.

"Frannie" is distanced from her surroundings, a natural attitude for a writer, but she seems to look on everything with distaste. Everything. She admits she is not happy when she wakes up in the morning, but the wall she has around herself while making a life in this neighbourhood is too thick. She is constantly surprised at the seediness around her, and I don't find this believable in a long-time resident, no matter that she's a writer or romantic. She would've killed herself long ago, or moved on.

How she came to live in these circumstances is also something a mystery. We know her father left her mother. We know that on one occasion he left Frannie in Geneva to go to Washington, DC. She went to boarding school. She now lives on a schoolteacher's salary, and has a close relationship with a half-sister and a fascination with New York's underbelly. (Maybe not "fascination"; she is inexplicably drawn to it.) She matter-of-factly states that words are her passion, but she never demonstrates that passion. This is the contradiction that is Frannie, and I couldn't entirely buy it.

Frannie particularly liked the word "disarticulate." I wish most of the actors had articulated better. I guess the underbelly mumbles when feminists talk out of their cu-ts.

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