Jane Campion making a thriller? The Kiwi helmer behind Portrait Of A Lady, a film so poised, so cold, it seems to have been shot through a sheet of ice? Next you'll be telling us McG's making a gentle love story set in Bengal.
But having Campion adapt Susanna Moore's novel In The Cut isn't that crazy. At its heart is a raw, slightly skewed love/lust affair and JC's status as an outsider, geographically and artistically, allows a rare freshness to slink in. This is a film that portrays New York as a mixture of dream and sleaze, beauty and sorrow, flowing languidly at its own pace, unafraid to breathe.
When Frannie Avery (Meg Ryan) is visited by James Malloy (Mark Ruffalo), a detective tracking a kill'n'chop nutjob, she doesn't know why the latest victim's head was found in her garden. She does know that she's seen Malloy before - he was receiving a blow job in the basement of a bar. Getting head, in fact, off the very woman who lost hers later that night.
From this attention-slapping start point, In The Cut unspools as a graceful, sinewy thriller in more ways than one, with Frannie and Malloy getting down to some spicy sex. And it's far from tame. Especially given Frannie gets off on Malloy's uncouthness: his sordid language, his disreputable sexual history, the possibility he's killing girls...
Fascinating stuff then, superbly played by Ryan and Ruffalo. Less successful is the over-crafted script, full of patterns and echoes, or the insistence on moulding every male support character into a Possible Psycho. We've guessed who the killer is by the third reel, so why not let it go? After all, there's so much more to enjoy...
A lovingly crafted thriller that's overflowing with red herrings and way too symmetrical. Hypnotic viewing from start to finish, though, with great central performances.
Log in using Facebook to share comments, games, status update and other activity easily with your Facebook feed.