In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.
The 1950s. Manhattan lavatory attendant, Tom Ripley, borrows a Princeton jacket to play piano at a garden party. When the wealthy father of a recent Princeton grad chats Tom up, Tom pretends to know the son and is soon offered $1,000 to go to Italy to convince Dickie Greenleaf to return home. In Italy, Tom attaches himself to Dickie and to Marge, Dickie's cultured fiancée, pretending to love jazz and harboring homoerotic hopes as he soaks in luxury. Besides lying, Tom's talents include impressions and forgery, so when the handsome and confident Dickie tires of Tom, dismissing him as a bore, Tom goes to extreme lengths to make Greenleaf's privileges his own. Written by
Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley gets a deluxe reincarnation here, merit of the talented Mr. Minghella. A sensational script adaptation, stunning Italian locations and an extraordinary supporting cast. Tom Ripley saw the light before, most memorably with the face of Alain Delon in another beautiful outing by the underrated Rene Clement. This time, the winning feature is the superbly tailored script that gets inside the heads of the characters giving us a full panoramic view of their privileges as well as their desolation. Tom Ripley, the amoral, becomes the tortured immoral here. Anthony Minghella gives him a conscience, a self-awareness giving the tale an extra chilling touch. Matt Damon's natural dullness works wonders here. This may be his best performance to date. But it is the supporting cast that makes "The Talented Mr. Ripley" fly so high. Jude Law as the spoiled, vain and ultimately cruel Dickie Greenlef is truly remarkable. His worthlessness, crystal clear for everyone to see, becomes irrelevant due to the astonishing charisma and oodles of sexiness that Jude Law exudes. That, in itself, makes Gwynneth Paltrow's character totally believable. She's an intelligent woman who must know Dickie for what he is but she puts that aside and we don't question it. Philip Seymour Hoffman's Freddie is a fully fleshed out character who's on the screen for a few minutes but leaves and indelible impression. Great fun to witness his two faces. Creepy and wonderful. But it is Cate Blanchett, in a creation worthy of W Somerset Maughan that becomes the icing on this scrumptious cake. I would love to see a film where her Meredith is the central character. This "Talented Mr. Ripley" cemented my film relationship with Anthony Minghella. I wait for his films with childish anticipation.
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