Teacher Frannie Avery (Ryan) is an unhappy woman with few friends and an empty love life. After a woman is murdered near Frannie's New York City apartment, she begins a torrid affair with the detective (Ruffalo) investigating the case. There's just one teeny problem: Frannie suspects he maybe the killer.
In the Cut is a well-intended failure. Director Jane Campion (The Piano) and star Ryan have said they wanted to bring a woman's perspective to a crime thriller. Tell it to Gloria Steinem. Though Ryan and Ruffalo both give bold performances, Cut is so irritatingly dim when it comes to its heroine's motives and conduct that one quickly loses patience. It is really no more than a so-so woman-in-peril film tricked up with arty camera work and look-who's-nekkid! sex.
One scene, though, tantalizes with the promise of what might have been. It's when the cop tells the better educated and more articulate Frannie that he has to work double-time mentally just to keep up with her. How, and whether, a smart woman persuades a guy that staying around is worth it is the film I want to see. (R)