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In the Cut & Trapped: Double Feature Blu-ray Review

In the Cut (2003) movie poster In the Cut

Theatrical Release: October 22, 2003 (Uncut Director's Edition Video Release: February 10, 2004) / Running Time: 119 Minutes / Rating: Unrated

Director: Jane Campion / Writers: Susanna Moore (novel & screenplay); Jane Campion (screenplay)

Cast: Meg Ryan (Frannie Avery), Mark Ruffalo (Detective Giovanni A. Malloy), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Pauline Avery), Nick Damici (Detective Richie Rodriguez), Sharrieff Pugh (Cornelius Webb), Patrice O'Neal (Hector the Baby Doll Bouncer), Kevin Bacon (John Graham - uncredited)
Trapped (2002) movie poster Trapped

Theatrical Release: September 20, 2002 / Running Time: 106 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Luis Mandoki / Writer: Greg Iles (novel 24 Hours and screenplay)

Cast: Charlize Theron (Karen Jennings), Courtney Love (Cheryl Hickey), Stuart Townsend (Dr. Will Jennings), Kevin Bacon (Joe Hickey), Pruitt Taylor Vince (Marvin), Dakota Fanning (Abby Jennings), Steve Rankin (Hank Ferris), Garry Chalk (Agent Chalmers), Jodie Markell (Mary McDill), Matt Koby (Peter McDill), Gerry Becker (Dr. Stein), Andrew Airlie (Holden), Randi Lynne (Hotel Operator), Colleen Camp (Joan Evans), J.B. Bivens (Gray Davidson)

Buy In the Cut & Trapped Double Feature Blu-ray from Amazon.com

Meg Ryan seemed to realize that once she turned 40, she would no longer get to play leading lady in the kind of romantic comedies in which she made her name. So, for her first post-40 film,
she made In the Cut, a steamy thriller directed by The Piano's Jane Campion.

Ryan stars as Frannie Avery, a high school English teacher in New York City. Words are her passion, and so she is seen compiling a book of slang terms and, in a device that film overuses, taking note of verses on subway cars' "Poetry in Transit" banners.

After parts of a mutilated murder victim are found in the garden outside her apartment, Frannie is questioned by NYPD homicide detective Giovanni Malloy (Mark Ruffalo). The grisly homicide and disarticulation seem to fit a pattern of a serial killer who is eluding Malloy and others. Frannie starts a romance with Malloy, while harboring suspicions of his character, believing she saw him receiving fellatio in the basement of a bar from the murder victim on the afternoon before her body was found.

High school English teacher Frannie Avery (Meg Ryan) doesn't take too kindly to police questioning....

It's tough to know how much stock to put in Frannie's suspicions, but if this truly is a solvable murder mystery, then Malloy is one possible suspect, as are Frannie's student (Sharrieff Pugh) overly fascinated with John Wayne Gacy and a fling turned stalker (a thanked but uncredited Kevin Bacon). Frannie seems personally at risk when she is mugged one night, after which she begins staying with her half-sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) at her noisy apartment above her workplace, a strip club.

Adapted from Susanna Moore's 1995 novel by Moore and Campion, In the Cut is very dark and gritty. Relying heavily on selective focus, oblique angles, and moody lighting, the film casts post-9/11 New York in this discomforting haze, where anyone you see, even our protagonist and the ordinarily affable Ruffalo, could be a monstrous killer/dismemberer. Its resolution isn't easily predicted, yet seems to stand to some scrutiny.

...even when it's young, mustachioed detective Giovanni A. Malloy (Mark Ruffalo) asking the questions. Though unadvertised and uncredited, Kevin Bacon has a substantial supporting role as stalky actor John Graham.

On DVD, In the Cut was sold in two separate editions, one preserving the R-rated cut released to theaters and the other holding an extended, unrated "Uncut Director's Edition." Only the latter is offered on Blu-ray and it reportedly adds 37 seconds of content to three scenes. That doesn't sound like much but it does include a surprisingly graphic look at the shadowy, pivotal (supposedly simulated) fellatio scene and more to a couple of Ryan/Ruffalo sex scenes.

In the Cut struck out with critics and bombed at the box office in its 825-theater fall 2003 release. Instead of asserting Ryan's dramatic talents,
it gave her an air of desperation and she has been scarcely seen or even recognizable since.

In 2002, Charlize Theron was no longer the big new actress. The buzz surrounding her turn in The Cider House Rules had faded and though they saw her working with the likes of Robert De Niro, Will Smith, Robert Redford, and Woody Allen, her follow-up projects were mostly non-starters. Things would pick up in 2003, between her role in the hit summer remake The Italian Job and then her Oscar-winning performance in Monster.

Trapped came a year earlier and it wouldn't do much for Theron's career. It was another underperformer and grossing just $7 million in wide release on a $30 M budget, one of the South African's more severe flops. Still, Trapped would prove a life-changing experience for Theron in one way: it introduced her to Irish actor Stuart Townsend, who would become her de facto husband for the next nine years.

In the 2002 thriller "Trapped", Karen Jennings (Charlize Theron) and her reflection sense something amiss while dishing out ice cream.

Theron and Townsend play Karen and Will Jennings, a wealthy married couple whose world is rocked when their asthmatic young daughter Abby (Dakota Fanning) is abducted from their home. A man named Joe (Kevin Bacon) appears to be the mastermind of the operation. He brags this will be the fifth such kidnapping he's pulled off without any deaths or criminal charges. Joe credits his own intelligence to defy the remarkably low success rate of ransom kidnappings. He and his two partners in crime, wife Cheryl (Courtney Love) and friend Marvin (Pruitt Taylor Vince), have apparently perfected the process, streamlining it so that in twenty-four hours, the child is returned no worse for the wear while Joe and company have $250,000 more dollars in their possession.

The kidnappers divide the happy family of three: Abby goes with Marvin, Cheryl tracks down Will at a medical conference, and Joe makes himself at home with Karen. The night unfolds with regularly scheduled check-in calls, the threat of deadly harm, and a transfer of Abby's life-saving medication. In the most focal of those three arrangements, Joe plans to sleep with Karen. Instead of simply cooperating as instructed, Karen puts up a fight.

Greg Iles adapts his own best-selling 2000 novel 24 Hours, whose title change apparently was to avoid confusion with Fox's popular real-time action series then starting its second season. After several years of helming American romances (like When a Man Loves a Woman, Message in a Bottle, and Angel Eyes), Mexican director Luis Mandoki tried his hand at something darker and more thrilling. Trapped doesn't soften or shy from its uncomfortable material, establishing Bacon's character as a sociopath you don't want to cross. It's nothing you haven't seen before and probably in a more powerful way, but there's enough tension and suspense to hold your attention.

Coochie coochie coo! Baby Dakota Fanning wants her Mommy and her asthma inhalant. The mindless action climax to "Trapped" pits plane against automobiles.

The film goes south when it devotes a lot of time to a disappointingly routine action climax whose idea of imagination is the repeated task of cutting a plane's engine mid-flight to avoid suspicious background noise on a cell phone call. Bacon is fittingly loathsome and I've kind of just realized that is his specialty, having been cast in that vein quite regularly as he seems to gravitate to playing slimy creeps, especially in darker fare.

Theron's course-correcting 2003 had nothing to do with this film, which got lousy reviews to go with its poor public reception. Mandoki returned to Mexico immediately after and has stayed there, though directing few narrative movies. Iles, whom Wikipedia claims had mixed feelings about the film, has continued to write novels but none that he or anyone else has adapted. Townsend's acting career never really took off; after picking The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as his big Hollywood break, he's had to settle for supporting roles in the films of Theron, who in turn appeared in his minor directorial debut.

These two noughties thrillers make suitable companions on one of Mill Creek Entertainment's newest Double Feature Blu-rays licensed from the Sony Pictures Home Entertainment catalog.

In the Cut & Trapped: Double Feature Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

1.85:1 & 1.78:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French; Not Closed Captioned
Release Date: May 14, 2013 / Suggested Retail Price: $9.98
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (BD-50) / Blue Keepcase with Side Snap
Also available with The Quiet and Shadow of Doubt in 4 Movie Collection DVD ($9.98 SRP)
Available on Amazon Instant Video: In the Cut (R-rated), Trapped
In the Cut previously released by Sony in Unrated and R-Rated DVDs (February 10, 2004)
Trapped still available on Sony DVD ($9.99 SRP; December 24, 2002)


In the Cut and Trapped are each treated to respectable Blu-ray presentation. In the Cut's stylized look is upheld, often blurring much of its 1.85:1 frame. After a prologue that looks like it's taken from a smuggled camcorder, the 1.78:1 Trapped opts for more traditional visuals. The latter features a few minor specks throughout, while In the Cut did not but they would have been easier to miss there.

Mark Ruffalo and Meg Ryan are In the Cut... whatever that means.

The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio mixes are more than adequate, keeping dialogue crisp and atmosphere lively in each film. Mill Creek treats both thrillers to English and French subtitles as well as a Dolby Digital 5.1. French dub.


Unfortunately, Mill Creek's Double Feature Blu-rays of Sony movies have not included any bonus features.

That disappointing tradition continues here. On DVD, In the Cut's unrated cut was joined by an audio commentary by director Jane Campion and producer Laurie Parker, a 16-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, "Frannie Avery's Slang Dictionary" and the original trailer. Trapped's DVD included two audio commentaries, five deleted scenes, an alternate ending, a making-of featurette, filmographies and a trailer.

That is a lot of material to lose and it devalues this disc considerably while putting the future of those extras in doubt. No one is expecting Mill Creek to produce new supplements for these dirt-cheap double features, but it's not unreasonable to ask them to hang on to what has already been assembled. The void of extras calls attention to the biggest and only serious flaw to Mill Creek's two-movie Blu-rays. There's even room on this disc to include all of the dropped content in standard definition and that's after more than 2 GB goes to mysterious video files displaying the word "Feature" in yellow text against a black backdrop.

The straightforward menu loops 30 seconds of clips and score from one of the movies, based on the title logo you highlight. Scene selections and set up options are relegated to the pop-up menu while the movies run. The disc does not allow you to place bookmarks and sadly, it also does not resume unfinished playback.

There are no inserts or reverse side artwork in the plain side-snapped keepcase.

Uh-oh, Kevin Bacon's got the remote and he's going to make you watch two of his lesser films in this Double Feature Blu-ray.


The underperforming thrillers In the Cut and Trapped are probably most familiar to fans of their respective leading ladies, Meg Ryan and Charlize Theron. Off-putting in ways and with as many bad qualities as good ones, each film warrants a single viewing. Their shared, low-priced Blu-ray, on the other hand, lends more to a purchase, albeit a disappointing one that drops all of the substantial bonus features attached to each film on DVD. The pairing is sensible, the price is right, and the feature presentations are satisfactory. But the loss of those extras does rob the platter of some value.

Buy In the Cut & Trapped: Double Feature Blu-ray at Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Related Reviews:
New: Shanghai Noon & Shanghai Knights • Physical Evidence & The Anderson Tapes • Tomorrow You're Gone • A Common Man
Kevin Bacon: Hollow Man • Footloose • Death Sentence X-Men: First Class • Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Charlize Theron: Young Adult • Hancock • The Road • In the Valley of Elah
Meg Ryan: When Harry Met Sally... • The Women (2008) • Top Gun | Jennifer Jason Leigh: eXistenZ • Margot at the Wedding • Greenberg
Mark Ruffalo: Zodiac • The Kids Are All Right • Margaret On the 2nd Day of Christmas • Blindness
2000s on Film: The Ring • Dirty Pretty Things • Catch Me If You Can • Dark Water
Ransom • Gone Baby Gone • Stolen • The Factory • The Night Listener • Cohen & Tate

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Reviewed May 15, 2013.

Text copyright 2013 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2002 Columbia Pictures, Senator Entertainment, The Canton Company, Mandolin Entertainment, Propaganda Films,
2003 Screen Gems, Pathι Productions Ltd., and 2013 Mill Creek Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.