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The Talented Mr. Ripley
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An involving mystery thriller

Author: BuddyBoy1961 from Los Angeles, California
12 July 2000

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...especially when murder is your only means of escape. Matt Damon plays Tom Ripley, a cunning sociopath whose talents for manipulation go untapped until he is mistaken for a "somebody" and dispatched to Europe to retrieve the estranged son of a wealthy American shipbuilder. His objective is soon displaced by a growing fascination with the lifestyle of bon vivants Dickie and Marge (Law and Paltrow), who welcome the enigmatic Tom into their home, heart and wallet. Little do they realize to what lengths Tom will go to maintain his now-treasured social status. "English Patient" director Anthony Minghella has impressively adapted Patricia Highsmith's acclaimed novel of a young man's dangerous obsession with materialism and identity and presents (with cinematographer John Seale) an utterly convincing late-50's environment via picturesque Italian locations. Comparisons between "Ripley" and Alfred Hitchcock's "Strangers On A Train" are inevitable since Highsmith was the author of both and the premises are similar. But "Ripley" replaces "Stranger"'s subtle homosexual subtext with a somewhat overt subplot detailing the growing attraction Tom develops for Dickie (all but implying a direct connection between homosexuality and homicide) which almost overshadows the more important obsession/compulsion plot-line. The casting in Ripley is impeccable down to the tiniest role. Law, Paltrow and Blanchett (in a crucial supporting performance) all shine, but Damon is particularly effective. While anyone else might have overplayed the character, Damon employs an almost automatonic attitude whenever Tom Ripley is 'off'. His character seems incapable of being anything but an imitation of humanity whenever he is required to be social. But when Ripley is alone, Damon is amorphous, stoically waiting for any stimulus or circumstance with which to ingratiate himself. It is a daring but wise artistic approach.

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A flawed masterpiece

Author: Phillip-7 from Alabama
11 July 2000

This is one of the most visually stunning films that I have seen in a while. Except for a brief opening segment set in New York, the remainder of the film takes place in Italy and Venice. Not since David Lean's "Summertime" has a film been so beautifully presented. That said, it does suffer from some flaws when it comes to plot and editing. First of all, it is way too long and should have clocked in under 2 hours instead of a meandering 2 hrs, 20 minutes. But the major flaw is the casting and development of Ripley's character. Matt Damon is physically wrong for the part, and while he does a commendable job, if you have read the book, Damon's casting will gnaw at you. An actor such as Jack Davenport (who plays Peter) would fit the character of Ripley better. The biggest downfall of the film, however, is Ripley's character development. He simply doesn't gel. In the book, Ripley is a cold and calculating man who cleverly plots his actions - in the film, Ripley seems to fall accidentally into his misdeeds. Tom Ripley would not hesitate to apologize for clobbering Dickie with a boat paddle - he would do it until the deed was done. Artistically, this is a beautifully crafted film with some excellent performances but it could have been much better had the writers made up their mind about how Ripley was going to be portrayed.

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Sheer genius in every frame of film

Author: Adrian Cribb from London, England
11 July 2000

The fact is that an Oscar winning director can then make any film he damn well likes - if he wants to. And Anthony Minghella has done that, and some.

Every single member of the cast puts in an outstanding performance making everyone of their characters 3 dimensional.

Matt Damon - So aware of the subtleties which show up on screen. To produce them in a performance such as this requires more skill & co-ordination than a surgeon.

Jude Law - What a knockout!? He captures the self-confidence that only money & privilege can bring SO perfectly.

Gwyneth Paltrow - She has set new standards for the portrayal of the kaleidoscope of emotions Marge feels.

Cate Blanchett - When Meredith Logue appears the audience is forced to consider the situation from the points of view of all the characters on the screen. "Will Tom Ripley get found out?". Unfortunately this means that for the first few lines of dialogue the audience's attention is not fully on Cate. In spite of this Cate manages to capture both the innocence and longing found in the character and at the same time pull the audience back into reality. Not an easy job, but one she carries off wonderfully.

Philip Seymour Hoffman - Oh my god! Is this guy going to be bigger than Nicholson or what? He has hardly any lines and those are so abrasive that a lesser actor would not have made it believable for Freddie to get away with them, but Hoffman lights up the screen and, as Jude Law, drags a concrete and albeit rare character from the world of reality and puts him on screen for us to enjoy. Tremendous.

Jack Davenport - With all the above going on it could be overwhelming for a reasonable and rational character to enter the fray. You've seen horror films where the good guy goes to see what that noise was coming from the attic and then promptly gets bumped off? Totally unbelievable huh? Well Peter Smith-Kingsley could have come across in the same way. Davenport however manages to make it totally logical that he'd get to know and trust Ripley and thereby act as the catalyst to his final transformation into a person who acts in cold blood.

Add to this the music, photography, locations, directing and editing (you can tell from the trailers & making-ofs that there was stacks left out) this film has catapulted into my top 5 favorites of all time.

This film has come just at the right time. Popular film makers CAN still make good films.

10 out of 10.

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Pleasantly Surprised

Author: babycat from Canada
9 July 2000

I really enjoyed this film. Matt Damon's terrific performance was overlooked. There is an obvious similarity to Hitchcock films in the fact that the book is written by Patricia Highsmith who also wrote Strangers on a Train. This film came the closest to those types of classics I have seen in years. The rich scenery of Italy makes it a joy to watch. It is beautiful to watch and beautifully acted.

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Would have been great if a little shorter

Author: DarkCity
7 July 2000

"The Talented Mr. Ripley" is about a mysterious character who falls in love with the life of a real prince-type character. To Tom Ripley, a shy enigma, prince Dickie Greenleaf has the looks, the girl, and the money that he so desperately craves. He's sick of being a real nobody, and would rather be a fake somebody. If he were Dickie, all of his problems and his entire past would be swept away and life would be perfect..

The plot of this film is very well-crafted and interesting. What would happen if someone were to assume another person's identity while they themself were known to many people still around? This film attempts to show us just that and succeeds in a storyline that is actually quite believable, no matter how shocking it gets.

The performances in this film are fantastic. It is obvious that all of the actors and actresses really spent time trying to become their characters.

This movie was worthy of the Oscar nominations, but it definitely isn't a GREAT film. The problem is that the film is just far too long at 2 hours and 20 minutes. The main turning point of the film is just halfway through, and before that the film starts to get very repetitive and almost boring. If this film could have been cut down to an hour and 50 minutes or so it would have been much more attention-deserving and worthy of a 9 or 10. But since it isn't, I have to give it a 7/10.

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What's wrong with it?

Author: ( from New York City
7 July 2000

I don't understand how so many people have such a problem with The Talented Mr. Ripley. In my opinion, it's a fantastic film. I thought Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jude Law gave wonderful performances. It was really really good.

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I left with chills down my spine.

Author: Andrea-37
6 July 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


I was 13 years old when I saw this movie. I really was not interested in seeing this movie, and I thought I would leave the theater unsatisfied. The movie was probably too adult for me; nonetheless I was still glued to my seat. Besides the beautiful scenery of Italy and the attractive cast, I believe this to be a truly compelling movie. When Tom Ripley meets the elusive Dickey Greenleaf, he is treated by Dickey as a best friend. Tom feels a strong attraction towards Dickey. When Dickey catches on to Tom's advances, he begins to ignore Tom. Out of anger and jealousy, Tom murders Dickey. The rest of the movie is about how he cunningly covers his tracks. I agree that the ending was somewhat peculiar and abrupt. I still left the theater with chills down my spine.

I give it a 9 out of 10 stars.

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Unexpected Turn-Abouts'

Author: Robby-2 ( from
5 July 2000

Expected a movie on "evil" Sociopathic manipulation yet instead found one centering on an "Incomplete Personality" prepared, in some conditions, dangerous or otherwise, to "Complete" himself.

Many plot twists (some hard to buy) but keeps you intrigued as to why the main character (Ripley...get it..."Believe it or Not?") doesn't "bail" at any given moment. Check it out!

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Great cast + Great director/writer = Great movie!

Author: Sal Ruggiero ( from New York
4 July 2000

THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY, I feel, has been the most anticipated film of 1999. Academy Award winning director Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) follows up with this flick. With the luscious art direction of the 1950's Italy and great acting, THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY deserves its praise.

Tom Ripley, played by Good Will Hunting's Matt Damon, goes through his life thinking that it would be better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody. With that in mind, he forges going to the same college as Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law.) Fooled by his appearance, Dickie's parents send Tom to Italy to find their son and bring him home. Because it is expense-free, Tom goes.

He learns to enjoy jazz music as Dickie brings him into his rich life. Tom looks at Dickie to see that he is popular, he is rich, and he has a beautiful girlfriend - Gwyneth Paltrow. Dickie makes Tom feel like he's the only one who matters in the world. When Dickie is reunited to his old friend, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Dickie disregards Tom. Tom becomes so angry that things happen.

This picture is so much better than The English Patient. If you are a fan of any of the actors, director, or Italy, it is a must see!

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Mr. Ripley has failed.

Author: Raphael-15 from USofA
3 July 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

**WARNING MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS** (although, you can't really spoil a spoiled movie, now can you?)

Boy, has he ever. When I popped this film into my VCR I was expecting an evening on the edge of my seat. Ha, not hardly. The beginning was OK (kinda). Tom Ripley sits in for a friend at a piano performance, ending with a bang - lying to the parents of Dickie Greenleaf, a playboy who ran off to Italy. He said that he knew "good ol' Dickie," which, of course, he didn't. So Dickie's Dad talks him into going to Italy in order to talk Dickie into coming home. Mr. Ripley accepts, begins to study things that Dickie likes, such as jazz, in order to befriend him more easily, and so on and so on and so on. Pretty much south from there, I was snuggled up in my chair yawning to death when WHOA! RED ALERT! HOLY FISH STICKS! WHAT THE HECK! I vaguely recalled reading that this movie had a seen of nudity, but HOLY CROW! Dickie in a bath playing chess with, what's this, TOM who is out of the bath! Then Mr. Tom Ripley says WHAT? Oh please, pass the trash can, I think I'm gonna barf. By then I was strapping myself to my seat to keep myself from killing my TV set. You ARE catching on here, right? Just in case you're not I'll give it to you loud and clear, spoiler or no spoiler: Each and every man in the film, from Peter, to Frederick, to Dickie, to Tom Ripley, was pictured as both queer and straight, AND SHOWN AS ACTING PERFECTLY NATURAL!!! Catching on. IT'S NOT NATURAL, OK! I mean good grief. Do not watch it. Take it back to the movie store. Turn it off. Eject it. Fast forward to the end, or have someone tell you how it ended. (although it did end quite abruptly, I must say, leaving me feeling empty.) It really is tough to explain, just, bottom line, don't watch it. I'm dead serious. You'll hate it.

(whew, I feel MUCH better now)

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