When Jane Campion's film of Susanna Moore's noirish novel was released last year, an awful lot was made of its `raunchy' sexual content. So what do we get for our money? A semi-erect willy and Meg Ryan masturbating through her pants. Get past that and you're left with... Well, not a lot. Ryan is Frannie, a drippy English professor who becomes embroiled in a murder investigation when a severed head is found in her garden. It's not all bad news, though: the cop in charge of the case (Mark Ruffalo) asks her out and it's not long before they're at it hammer and schlong.
Ryan looks suitably puzzled as the dowdy, frozen-souled heroine, but she can't compare with the excellent Ruffalo or Jennifer Jason Leigh as her spiky stripper sis. There are also stand-out turns from Nick Damiano as Ruffalo's partner and Kevin Bacon, uncredited, as Ryan's ex-lover turned stalker. It's all very moody, but there's some genre confusion here - is this a psycho-sexual feminist drama or just a slasher flick with ideas above its station? Oh, and the weak (ahem) climax doesn't exactly help.