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The Talented Mr. Ripley
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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A Big, Resounding, "WHAT?" (On Earth Were They Thinking?)

Author: star83
28 July 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

(SPOILERS)Okay, so this movie has a couple of Oscar nominated actors/actresses in it. IT STILL WAS BAD! Okay, so it was filmed in a convincing atmosphere. IT STILL WAS BAD! Okay, so it was an attempt at creating a throwback of some Hitchcock film. IT STILL WAS A BAD MOVIE--although it was not the worst that I've seen.

First, I guess I'll discuss the good points of this movie--there are a few. I, like everyone else, enjoyed the scenery. This is because I could imagine a killer on the loose in such beautiful surroundings--for this movie, it adds "creepiness" (if that's what you would call it). Also, I, as anyone else I'd imagine, do not mind watching a movie that takes place somewhere I would like to be. It adds to the escapism that we all like to get from movies. The second thing that I enjoyed--most of all, in fact--was Mister Jude Law. I love him. He does well in any role that he portrays. Law was the only character that was amusing, or even interesting. This is sad to say, because the movie is called "The Talented Mr. Ripley"-not "The Talented Dickie" (Jude Law). I wanted to turn it off once Dickie was dead--and I knew that that point would come. I did like Matt Damon in the role, though, because he was so goofy and nerdish, that he was just odd, and easy to laugh at. I wonder if Ripley was meant to be so in the books. I could see why anyone would want to kill those characters--all of them. Cate Blachett was also good, but she has been so in all of her movies that I've seen, especially "Elisabeth" and "The Gift".

Although I like Damon, Blachett, and Law as actors, I did not like their characters. I did not like ANY of them. And the women--all of them--were made to look like some stupid beasts, running after their men of interest. The most obvious thing that a filmmaker must make sure of is that the audience can identify with, at least, one character in the film. I hated all of them! Especially Marge! Paltrow, contrary to what others have said, was perfectly cast! She was just so accepting, and blind, and weak--Paltrow personifies this, to me, in any character that she plays. I do agree though, that her acting, as always, was overrated, and overdone. Ripley should have killed Marge and let Dickie live.

I did not like the main character, either. I may not have been suppposed to, but I did not even sympathize with him. He was just some simpering, little, weirdo-nerd. He wasn't even cunning. He just killed--three times to be exact--in the stupidest and random ways. The fact that he bludgeones them is a sign of his un-calculating and random acts. Ripley was a murderer, only because he killed. He showed no intelligence while doing so. This movie took away all of the fun of watching a murder thriller. As I saw the murders he commited, I was like, "What is this?" it's due to a miracle--or a stupid script--that he wasn't caught!stupid! The premise was just STUPID! The one thing that I did understand was that Ripley is a psychopath!--but he was just so goofy!

In the beginning of the movie, I wondered "Where's the suspense?", I of course knew that he would kill Dickie. The (very mild) suspense came only after wondering when he would start to kill everyone else. He didn't kill anyone else of importance, except for Dickie's stupid, mumbling friend--I saw that coming, also. The whole movie dragged on and on, from one thing (I can't even remember what) to another. The stupidest part (I do remember), that should have been understandable, was when the concierge of the hotel fell for Ripley's matching himself to Dickie's ID. Once again, those people were all dumb! It's a movie about a stupid killer, who only got away with the murders because everyone else around him were far beyond stupid--I can't believe that rich people are that blind. I can't believe that I decided to watch them in this awful movie.

The movie consisted of long hours of nothing! And then, at the end, it was just a big, resounding, "WHAT?" I knew that was going to happen, too, but I just have to ask "WHY?". The answer, of course, is that the script or whatever was making it seem that Ripley (character and movie) is now something that he's (it's) not--interesting.

Yes, it was awful, although it was not the worst. Remember, the scenery and costumes and Jude Law. It should be redone. Ripley should be more cunning and smart, what's her name (Blanchett) should have been able to see through that Ripley, and Marge should have been killed, instead of Dickie, or Dickie could die later on--at the end. I can't help it, this movie stunk! I'll remember never to go see a movie just because the cast consists of Oscar winners.

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12 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Lots to rave about here.

10/10
Author: TOMASBBloodhound from Omaha, NE USA
10 September 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a really terrific thriller. There is a lot going on, and you need to bring your attention span, but the reward will be great if you do. Matt Damon plays Tom Ripley. Ripley is an intentionally ambiguous character who uses his many "talents" to dig himself into deeper and deeper trouble as he attempts to infiltrate high society. Damon really began to distance himself from boyhood chum Ben Affleck with this role originally intended for Tom Cruise.

It all starts out on a rooftop in New York City. Ripley is playing the piano for some type of a cocktail party and he happens to be wearing a borrowed Princeton jacket. A wealthy gentlemen at the party notices this, and quickly recruits Ripley to track his spoiled brat son down over in Italy. His son also attended Princeton, and Ripley claims to have known him there. Ripley accepts this offer since it pays pretty well, allows him to travel, and gives him the chance to get a foot in the door with the upper class. Ripley locates the spoiled son named Dickie who is living with his girlfriend. Jude Law (American accent and all) plays Dicke, and Gwyneth Paltrow is the girlfriend. Ripley quickly befriends the couple and admits why he's there. Rather than try to convince Dickie to return to America with him, he simply joins him in run of debauchery. The good vibes between these characters don't last long, however. Ripley develops a mad obsession about Dickie that can really only lead to the kind of violent confrontation we see later on a tiny motorboat. Ripley then becomes Dickie. He has learned how to forge his signature, his mannerisms, and he is quickly developing a taste for the finer things in life.

Or course there are complications when one assumes another person's identity. Ripley keeps running into people Dickie knew well, and he has to come up with some amazing lies and schemes to keep them believing the real Dickie is still alive. If someone gets too close, Ripley has to either run away or dispose of whomever might find out his secrets. As a viewer, you might often find yourself trying to come up with a good story or lie before Ripley can to see if you're as cunning as he apparently is. The story works itself out intelligently, and by doubling back on some of the tiniest details from earlier scenes, but somehow it all works brilliantly. What kind of man is Tom Ripley? Really, he is whatever he needs to be in order to keep going. Is he intelligent? Hell yes. Is he dangerous? Hell yes. Is he gay? If he needs to be. He has a chance to bed Cate Blanchette, but seems unable to complete the deal. Or maybe he just doesn't have time. It's difficult to say.

The cast is a wonderful ensemble of some of the finest actors working today. Phillip Seymour Hoffman really stands out in a sleazy supporting role. Law is superb. Blanchette is not in enough scenes. Paltrow is good, but Damon puts them all to shame. Anthony Minghella's direction hits all the right notes. Italy looks as beautiful as you could ask it to. It's really hard to find a flaw in this one. 10 of 10 stars.

The Hound.

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13 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Read the book!

3/10
Author: Maciste_Brother from the rock
22 November 2000

The book is great. It's one of my favorite books ever. The film, on the other hand, is amazingly insipid and bad! When I heard Damon would play Ripley, I knew this production was doomed. But I didn't expect it to be this bad. The actors go around and act very showy. Except for Law (and even he is guilty of some showy acting), all the actors here are near amateurish. Speaking Italian and moving one's arms or hair about shouldn't be considered as acting. Damon is miscast. He's way too stiff for a character that's supposed to be a chameleon. Paltrow is forgettable and Hoffman plays yet another effeminate slimy character. Talk about typecasting.

What's really unforgivable about the script (written by the overrated director) is that it completely forgoes every subtle details from the book and comes up with many of its own, and none of them work! The addition of the Jazz music stuff is totally WRONG! I guess Minghella's idea of Italy in the late 50s, early 60s is clouded with images of Chet Baker roaming the Italian countryside and spreading amore. Yep, Minghella is a true visionary. The film is so bleeding obvious. That silly scene when Ripley drives through the narrow street full of mirrors. Very laughable. Yes, we get the point!!! Every point or detail comes across a mile away, so much so that the film might give the audience the false impression that they have psychic powers. We know, for example, that the Blanchett character, introduced at the beginning of the movie, will return later on only complicate things. And the soundtrack, at times, is totally inappropriate. Whimsical when it shouldn't be. The film goes on for too long and in all sorts of pointless directions. There are too many boring characters populating the landscape (many that weren't in the book). This film is bad! Really bad!

Apparently, Minghella's son told his father that the Ripley novel was his favorite. Mr. Minghella then proceeded to direct it as a favor of sorts to his son. Well, the director did achieve what he set out to do: Talented Mr. Ripley, with its Hitchcock aspirations, is a film strictly made for 12 year olds!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Well filmed, but...

4/10
Author: John from United States
21 July 2016

First, well-done cinematography, set work and costuming. There is a rich sense of time and place in the movie. Second, the fatal flaw of the movie: with all the weaving of characters and plot, when Tom has finished with (or, should I say, continues with) his shenanigans, the viewer is left with the deadly question: so what? Who cares about any of these people, except maybe Marge? And therein lies the missed opportunity. This film should have been written from Marge's point of view, not Tom's. Have her see things clearly, but at the end be smothered by a male-dominated society that believes she's crazy (a la Angelina Jolie's character in "The Changeling"). This movie disappoints.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Muddled, but compelling nonetheless

4/10
Author: Paul Bender from Washington, DC
16 February 2000

Like Anthony Minghella's previous film ("The English Patient") the visual styling of "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is rich and textured. Mingehella knows how to light a scene and where to put the camera. Likewise, the performances from the entire cast are fine, including the amoral, sociopathic, and rather creepy Mr. Ripley (Matt Damon). The performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman (Freddy) is confident, range-stretching for him, and--I think--the finest in the film. (As a slightly less relevant aside, I must say that I found the Italian scenery magnificent to watch, especially the streets of Rome, the Spanish Steps, and the Bernini fountains.)

However, like "The English Patient", the plot is so dense (and, I would argue, muddled) that characters and their motivations become unclear as one tries to keep log of details. (e.g. Where did Peter come from, anyway? He just shows up in the middle of the film, with insufficient introduction, rather intimately palling around with Marge at the opera.) Now some of this I'm sure is intentional in order to enhance the meting out of this complex tale of mystery; however, I think that Minghella's delivery of drama often mistakes confusion and unclarity for suspense.

I suppose that I should not complain too loudly since "Ripley" with its gorged plot is definitely preferable to the more common (and annoying) problem--namely, too little plot. If you can forget about plausibility I think you will find, all in all, that the ride is intriguing and generally compelling.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The Talented Mr.Everyone involved in this film

10/10
Author: rhysowen55 from United Kingdom
25 February 2014

Just one of those films where every actor (with any dialogue) is given a three dimensional character and plenty of room to show off their acting chops. It's been described as 'a powerhouse of young talent' it certainly was that, with the opening credits listing what is soon to be the cream of Hollywood's talent. Although the film is moderately lauded by those who have seen it and perfect in nearly every aspect, it is not regarded as the classic it should be. Taking many successful risks, for example casting Matt Damon in the psychopathic role he plays is certainly over looked, even though he is regarded the 'nice guy' of Hollywood it is shocking how well he pulls it off. Still giving the role a lot of charisma and empathy. Watch it!

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Tries to be too clever

3/10
Author: Ben Allen from London, England
27 February 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is only the second film I have ever seen in a cinema that I have been tempted to walk out of. The crying shame about The Talented Mr Ripley is that the first hour is so good. The plot slowly develops, and watching Ripley's obsession with Dickie emerge is fascinating.

The acting from all four main actors (Damon, Law, Paltrow, Blanchett) is impeccable, with Jude Law in particular playing his role extremely well.

(spoiler) Once Ripley is a wanted man, the rest of the film is spent waiting for him to be caught. I counted SIX possible places where the film could have had a satisfactory ending, but the over-indulgent screenplay chooses to work through all of them. This makes the film about an hour too long (there were cheers in the cinema when it ended). My recommendation would be to go see this film, watch the first 90 minutes or so, which are great, and then leave, inventing your own ending.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Good Film...

6/10
Author: nama chakravorty from India
16 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'The Talented Mr. Ripley', an adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith 1955 novel of the same name, directed by Anthony Minghella, is a good film. The Oscar-Winning Late Filmmaker handles this cruel story with manners, however his writing towards the finale is a complete give-away.

'The Talented Mr. Ripley' is a twisted and disturbing story, of Tom Ripley, a young man struggling to make a living in 1950s New York City. He is maybe, the most believable liar, who goes full throttle after things get weird for him. He kills people. He lives on others names. In short, amongst the biggest villains human-beings have seen on Screen ever.

The film has a rock-solid first-hour, and keeps it's momentum high, but the final 25-30 minutes are not convincing. Anthony Minghella's adapted screenplay is mostly captivating, how one truly wishes if it had a more convincing culmination. As a director, Anthony Minghella wonderfully captures Mr. Ripley's journey. He makes sure that in each frame his character is felt and talked about. John Seale's Cinematography is striking. Walter Murch's Editing is good.

Performance-Wise: Matt Damon is incredible as Mr. Ripley. This performance ranks amongst his finest efforts. Gwyneth Paltrow is excellent. Jude Law is super-efficient, while Philip Seymour Hoffman doesn't impress much. Cate Blanchett leaves a mark. Jack Davenport is passable. Philip Baker Hall is terrific in a tiny role.

On the whole, A Good Film, that offers thrills and makes a memorable character.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Good and bad

6/10
Author: mydelsol7 from Raleigh, NC United States
8 December 2005

This movie had great cinematography, superb acting and interesting ideas, but the pacing seemed off and it dragged quit a lot in places. I loved certain parts, but the over all structure of the movie felt weak. I know this is more of a character movie but the plot had almost no momentum at all which lead to a friend I was seeing the movie with to ask me "If I go to the bathroom do you think anything might actually happen...?" While every actor did fine job, Matt Damon was particular good, I had not thought him a very good actor before this picture and he rarely lives up to his talent afterwards. I think I may watch it again and would recommend someone else watching it as it is a challenging picture.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Good acting, great cinematography but the story lacked

5/10
Author: bauman from Vancouver, BC
14 November 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Possible spoiler at the tail end of my comments.

Did you ever see that episode of Frasier where he lies to his date and it goes from bad to worse and then he really starts lying to save the situation but it only makes it worse then ....

I hate stories that rely on this tactic to explain behaviour, build suspense or otherwise tell a story. This movie heavily uses the spiraling lie tactic. The movie is very slow to start, has fabulous scenery, good acting and great cinematography. The spiraling lies and an improbable story full of holes left me very disappointed.

I did love the ending. On the stern of the ship after Tom has kissed Meredith (Cate Blanchett), who does she look at and smile to just before the scene ends? That and the closet lurker really left me thinking about the possibilities.

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