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This is supposed to be Meg Ryan's most naked performance. Boy, they weren't kidding. Emotionally (and physically) Ryan cuts away her usual wrinkled-nose cuteness to play a withdrawn Manhattan English teacher who gets involved with a mysterious lover, detective Mark Ruffalo. Thing is, there's a serial killer lurking about, and everyone's a suspect, especially a shady Kevin Bacon and creepy student Sharrieff Pugh.
Jane Campion creates a movie that has dread prowling around every corner--and the symbolism pours off the screen. Ryan gives an unexpectedly raw performance; Ruffalo, as usual, keeps up. But in the end, the plot slips too much into a cheap Seven whodunit category and just falls apart. And that's something even a sex-charged Meg Ryan can't save.