In the Cut (2003)

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Released 10-May-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Director And Producer
Featurette-Frannie Avery's Slang Dictionary
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Auto Focus, Wild Things II, Sin, Motives
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 114:13
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (66:56) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jane Campion

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Meg Ryan
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Mark Ruffalo
Nick Damici
Sharrieff Pugh
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes, frequent
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    In the Cut is a serial killer thriller, in the mould of Dressed to Kill or Klute. Well, Klute is technically not a serial killer movie, but there's a similar feel to it. It has been spiced up with some fairly detailed love scenes, and one somewhat controversial scene, but at its core this is what it is.

    That's not running the film down, though — Klute is an excellent film, with superb performances from Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland. Just as this is rather a good film, with very good performances from Meg Ryan and Mark Ruffalo.

    Meg Ryan has been best known for her performances in romantic comedies, like Joe vs the Volcano, oh, and a few other films. This is quite a contrast. She is not playing for laughs. She is not looking glamorous (she can never look ugly, but she tries hard to look plain in this film). This film does not, as has been misreported elsewhere, contain her first nude scenes (she has appeared topless in a number of movies), but her nude scenes in this film are more extensive. The scene that caused the controversy, though, is one her character witnesses, rather than participates in; it's somewhat amusing to hear the commentary, with the director and the producer discussing "the casting of the dildo", just to make sure we know that it was simulated fellatio.

    Francis Avery (Meg Ryan) is an English teacher who is collating words for a dictionary of slang. She is questioned by Detective Malloy (Mark Ruffalo) about a dismembered female body found in the garden of the apartment block in which she lives. There's an attraction between the two of them. The investigation goes on in the background as we watch her visit her sister (Jennifer Jason Leigh), help her student, teach her class, be pestered by an obsessive ex- (Kevin Bacon)... Frannie doesn't realise it, but she saw a significant clue earlier. That clue means that she's at risk. As things develop, both in the case, and in their relationship, she finds herself wondering who she can trust.

    There are some grisly images in this film, and a lot of splattered blood. If you are into splatter movies, then you have probably seen worse, but I'd still recommend against eating while watching this movie.

    This film is set in New York, but not the New York of high living and excitement, rather this is in the somewhat seedier areas, the dirty grimy New York. There are some odd images, like a bandaged bride in a subway, that seem to be present just to disconcert (it works).

    It is not for everyone, but if you are in the mood for a dark thriller, then you might like this one.

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Transfer Quality


    This film is presented on DVD in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, which matches the theatrical aspect ratio.

    The image looks fairly sharp in motion, but any time you pause you can see the light film grain that softens edges somewhat. Even though quite a bit of the film takes place at night, and even though large parts of the picture are black, the film grain rarely rises above light — that's a tribute to the cinematographer. Shadow detail varies, but is usually quite limited, due to the low light levels. Low level noise is never apparent.

    Colour is rather well rendered, but production design (and New York grime) have muted the palette — there aren't a whole lot of bright colours on display, but those we see look accurate.

    Apart from the light film grain there are no other obvious film artefacts (as you'd hope, for a film made last year). Well, there's quite a bit of jerky hand-held camera work, but that's a deliberate choice of the filmmakers (the cinematographer and the director), rather than a film artefact.

    There's nothing of any significance in the way of aliasing (perhaps it's masked by the light grain?). There's no moiré. There are no noticeable MPEG artefacts.

    There are subtitles in a perplexing selection of languages, including English. I only watched the English subtitles. They are clear, easy to read, more than usually accurate, and well-timed to the dialogue.

    The disc is single-sided and dual layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change is at 66:56, and it is quite obvious, because the picture freezes on an image — a fraction of a second later and it would fall between scenes.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The soundtrack is provided in English, Spanish, and Hungarian (no, I don't know why). I only listened to the English, which is Dolby Digital 5.1.

    The dialogue is mostly clear and readily comprehended, although there are a couple of lines (such as the poetry at the river) that are awfully quiet. I spotted nothing in the way of audio sync errors.

    The score comes from Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson. It is well-written, and supports the film without drawing too much attention to itself. Not all of it is music, in the sense of being melodic.

    There's reasonable separation across the front soundstage, and good use of the front three channels, but the surrounds aren't heavily used — there is some sound coming from them, though. The subwoofer is used to build tension, to make some nice ominous rumblings, but lacking a subwoofer would be no reason to avoid this film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The main menu is nicely themed to the music, animated, with music behind it. It is easy to use.

Commentary: director Jane Campion and producer Laurie Parker

    This is Jane Campion's first commentary, but she and Laurie Parker do quite a good job. Their commentary wanders here and there, but they manage to cover a lot of information, and in an interesting manner. Some of the material they cover is reasonably technical, some is almost gossip (including the real nature of some of the locations), but none of it is really boring, and there are few gaps. They start during one of the opening logos and talk nearly continuously until a little of the way into the closing credits. Well worth a listen.

Frannie Avery's Slang Dictionary (2:34)

    This short piece defines the few terms mentioned during the film, and a number of others — a total of 12 slang words or phrases.

Featurette: In The Cut — behind the scenes (15:42)

    This is a classic EPK item, saying very little, but containing a lot of mutual admiration.

Theatrical Trailer (1:53)

    A normal trailer, presented in widescreen. Surprisingly, this contains fewer spoilers than usual.


    Four more trailers:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Two versions of this film were released in Region 1 earlier this year. One version is R-rated (corresponding to the US theatrical release), the other unrated (corresponding to the release elsewhere). The Region 4 disc appears to be the latter version. The unrated R1 disc and the R4 disc seem very similar in everything but cover art. The menu design is the same, the commentary, slang dictionary, and behind the scenes featurette are all the same. They get trailers for The Missing and Trapped instead of Auto Focus, Wild Things II, and Motives — both discs get trailers for In the Cut and Sin. The R1 has English and French soundtrack and subtitles.

    The R1 transfer is very similar to the R4, with the same light grain, but pretty much no other issues.

    This looks like a tie: choose whichever version strikes your fancy, because you're getting essentially the same thing either way.


    A dark serial-killer thriller, with better acting than many, on a well-made disc.

    The video quality is very good, even with a continuous light film grain (it adds to the grit!).

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are good.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, June 26, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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Comments (Add)
R2 slightly better - throatsprockets