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Last Updated: Friday, 31 October, 2003, 08:53 GMT
Ryan's gruesome thriller disappoints
By Helen Bushby
BBC News Online entertainment staff

US star Meg Ryan reveals a darker side to her acting in raunchy thriller In The Cut, directed by The Piano's Jane Campion.

This film has attracted a great deal of interest because of the shock value seeing Ryan cast off her cute, girl-next-door image - as well as her clothes.

Mark Ruffalo and Meg Ryan
Ruffalo and Ryan do some steamy scenes together
The role was initially destined for Nicole Kidman, and it is remarkable how similar they look when Ryan dons a long, red wig.

She plays dreamy teacher Frannie Thorstin (Ryan), who goes on a rollercoaster of sex and self-doubt through her relationship with homicide detective Malloy (Mark Ruffalo).

Malloy is in her area investigating a serial killer who beheads women before scattering their body parts around the site of the killing.

With such a high gore count, this film could easily put you off your popcorn.

The blood and guts are interspersed with full-on sex scenes, and the combination of the two makes for uncomfortable viewing.

Although there is some great acting, especially from Ryan, plus stunning cinematography, the film is ultimately let down by its weak plot.

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It does not prove difficult to identify the murderer, which rather kills off the end of the movie.

Wayward father

Another major problem is that Frannie and her sister Pauline, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, are both quite irritating, making it hard to root for them when the going gets tough.

Jane Campion
New Zealand-born Jane Campion directs the film
Both talk endlessly about their "issues" concerning men, which link back to their wayward father, but it is not enough to grab your attention.

It appears that the usually excellent Campion has put style over substance with this disappointing film.

It is a great shame, as the film industry needs more female directors to make their mark, and Campion is easily capable of doing this.

In The Cut is released across the UK on Friday.

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What did you think of the film? Did it have you on the edge of your seat or was it a let-down?

Did Jane Campion live up to her Oscar-winning reputation and was Meg Ryan convincing in her role?

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