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I had a much harder time watching "The Talented Mr. Ripley" compared to
the average person. This is because I have already seen the original
version, "Purple Noon" (1960 with Alain Delon). So all along, I knew
where the film was going and how it would end. So, there was no
suspense for me and I kept comparing the new film with an older film
that I adored--making my enjoyment a bit muted for this Matt Damon
Normally, I might talk about the plot or how the two versions are different. However, this film is clearly a thriller with many exciting twists--so if I talk about it, I might give away what will happen. Suffice to say, in the Matt Damon version, what ultimately happens seems less planned and much more spontaneous--and certainly less evil. Both are very good films, however, well made and with lovely locale shooting and terrific acting. And, since they put a different spin on the plot, it would make for a great double-feature to watch them both. If asked to choose which one I'd like, I preferred the original film--but both are nice.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Some of the reviews written here are so poetic and eloquently defining,
there is not much left to write - except to repudiate those snide
comments some people posted. They were not able to grasp the
many-layered complexities of "The Talented Mr. Ripley" - I've watched
it at least six times and still feel uncertain of my opinions, that
I've misunderstood some of it. Although it was released in 1999, it is
definitely like one of the great movies that were made in the '60s-'70s
era. Nothing was left-out to make it into the gripping, totally
convincing film it is. The cinematography was stunning, as was the
lighting. Each character was costumed as they should have been for
every scene. I loved the way each scene melted into the next, making a
complete whole. Anthony Mingella knew exactly what he wanted and got it
with the cooperation of every actor/actress, right down to the extras
and bit-players. Every character was completely developed. Frankly, I
can't imagine anyone else playing the roles as they were presented, and
most of them I was not familiar with. I saw this film before "Good Will
Hunting" (liked it, too), and see the brilliance of Matt Damon's
multi-faceted acting. I also enjoyed both of "the Bourne" movies,
hoping he isn't stuck in that kind of role forever. I sincerely hope
there are many writers busy scripting stories for him, although I think
"Ocean's Eleven" was a waste for him.
I'm sure Minghella realized he almost ruined this sumptuous film by considering Tom Cruise as Ripley - Yuck !! Gwenyth Paltrow was perfect for her role (see "Great Expectations"), too, her facial expressions and tone of voice right on pitch for every emotion. Cate Blanchett is another jewel in this crown, proving there IS great talent there - her timing was sublime with just the right touch of wanting to believe Ripley's saga, but just enough disbelief to make it convincing. One is certain, had the film continued, she would have seen the entire misery. Phillip S. Hoffman was truly a revelation; my first opinion that he was a homophobe - making several snide remarks to Ripley - but, the scene at the piano when he is looking for "Rickie", with his wrist so risquely bent, gives an entirely different characteristic to his role. (See "Red Dragon"). I'm not familiar with Jack Davenport, but what a revealing, under-played gay-man he delivered; he may have been the only one to understand Ripley's torment, much to his undoing. Alessandro Fabrizi as the detective who confronts Ripley in Venice was just as intense as he should have been (see "Hannibal"). What more to say about the skill from all of the other actors/actresses? - applause, please.
As for Jude Law, he should have been that physically beautiful in "Midngiht in the Garden of Good and Evil", in which he played an openly-sinister gay hustler. His facial expression to the perception of Ripley's infatuation for him during the bathtub "chess-game" was transparent. I agree he should have been nominated for best supporting-actor....actually everyone in the film should have won one. This movie is flawless - those people who panned it because of the gay theme don't know too much about anyone other than themselves. It is tragic they don't realize there are so many tortured people like Ripley - perhaps minus the violence - because they have no perception of the human psyche.
No one mentioned Ripley's agony of leaving his beautiful piano behind - pianos were vital to three scenes, opening the movie with that wonderful theme. Some reviewers caught the many personalities Ripley suffered through-out his entire life, and I agree his New York persona should have been expanded - another ten minutes added to the film would matter not, entrancing as it is.
The ending of the movie leaves me completely drained, because it is obvious Ripley would have to continue his tragic behavior.....he didn't have to worry about money anymore, although he couldn't live "Rickie's" life, although IT too was deeply-flawed psychosomatic. Matt Damon's portrayal was magnificent; I can't think of one other actor through the decades I've been watching movies who could bring more to this role.....not one.
AS a performer, I can also easily adjust to radical changes in my life, very similar to Ripley - yet, I can hardly kill a fly. My age has shown me that I am acting from one scene to the next, with no damage to psyche nor hurting another being. There are millions just like us - they just don't realize it. It's not bad - each day is different, adding its own magic to a very good life. People who really study this movie will recognize a little of themselves in it -
"The Talented Mr. Ripley" should be at the top of the list for IMDb's best movies - I'm waiting for another.....
This film has all the attributes of a "good" Hollywood movie: nice scenery,
many slow scenes, better than poor acting etc. etc. Oh yeah, and the
homosexuality theme, of course. After watching it for 30 minutes I realized
I knew the story. Yes, it was Purple Noon, an old (1960) movie that I
watched and greatly enjoyed a few years back. Halfway through the movie
(TMR) I started to fast forward. The movie is trying to be sophisticated but
ends up being dead boring.
I haven't read the original novel so I don't know which of the two movies is closer to the original. It doesn't matter, anyway. The final scene of Purple Noon (as well as the entire film) was brilliant, the one in TMR was pathetic.
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!
What a shame. The story had a lot of of promise but that dwindled quickly. In the beginning we're presented Mr. Ripley, who in every aspects wishes to be something he's not. He hopes to conform himself to the lifestyle of Dickie Greenleaf, and in doing so certain grows too attached to something he can never attain. The movie plods on through many gruesome instances and has the audience waiting for the end. I assumed often that the end was near, but no, I was not that fortunate. I had to sit through more of this dull movie. If I was one to walk out of a movie I would have left after about an hour. Instead I stayed. My recommendation: go for the first hour or so, you'll catch the good parts of the movie, then run!
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(SPOILERS, but hey, who cares, you don't want to watch this piece of crap
anyway! Nothing much to 'spoil' there...)
Near the end of this film, I found myself watching the digital seconds on my VCR ticking away, instead of looking at the screen. Not that I was missing much, nothing was going on anyway. Here's a spoiler for ya: nothing even remotely exciting happens in this film!!!
Three words to some up one of the many reasons this movie doesn't make any sence: Dickie's...body...where????? Where did our little Tom hide a 6'3 body out in the open sea (don't tell me he dropped into the water, duh...) without it ever being found. Oh, the boat they are in is found, but the body isn't. Like, what, did he eat it? Now that would have added something to the story wouldn't it?
To sum things up: Definatly THE most boring film I saw this year. The only people who should watch this are those who have NEVER enjoyed a single movie in their entire lives. They sure as hell won't be disappointed in this one!
2 out of 10 (and I'm being generous here...)
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!
Having been a fan of the Ripley books for some years, I was hopeful that
last someone had made at least a watchable adaptation of the most
sociopath in modern literature. So much for hope...
There was no point to the silly sub-plots, additional characters and various 'stuff' the film makers added to Highsmith's exceptionally elegant and sparse story. Perhaps someone felt they had to 'improve' on Highsmith (yikes!) in order to justify their paycheck. The effect is disastrous, making an interminable film longer than it needs to be. Worse, now no one can have a whack at it again for 20 years or so!
Matt Damon seems like he was willing to perform, but slid into being boring instead of being understated. The characterization of Dickie as a playboy is unfortunate, but at least Jude Law shows signs of life. Miss Paltrow's Marge is far too knowing, rather than puppet-like. We are deprived of the uncomfortable sensation we feel in the book when she succumbs to Ripley's story. Cate Blanchett does as best she can, with a character that never existed in print and isn't even needed for the film.
Ripley is far more subtle than the over-baked re-telling given it by Minghella and Co. For example, why start him off living in abject poverty? Highsmith smartly had him already toying with an underground career when Mr. Greenleaf pursues him, knowing that he went to school with Dickie. The Highsmith setup makes for a much more interesting 'acquaintance becomes a devil and takes over your life' dynamic. Further bad choices are made concerning the coup de grace and ensuing action. The demise of Dickie, THE CENTRAL MOMENT OF THE STORY, is awkwardly contrived, seeming to come from nowhere and feeling out of place rather than organic and plausible. Perhaps this is the consequence of the bad plot leads going before, and poor filmmaking choices that leave the film's texture uneven.
Read the book instead.
Matt Damon plays Tom Ripley in the movie the "The Talented Mr. Ripley".
Tom is an underachiever with a career as a bathroom attendant. Working
as a piano player Tom Ripley needs a jacket so he borrows one with a
Princeton patch. Herbert Greenleaf (James Rebhorn) who mistakes Tom for
a Princeton student and engages in conversation with him approaches
him. Soon the conversation turns to Herbert's son Dickie Greenleaf,
played by Jude Law, and his carefree life style in Europe. Herbert
begins to trust Tom and soon offers him a job to go to Europe and bring
Once in Italy we see Tom's true talents and his multi personalities come out. Tom soon befriends Dickie and Marge Sherwood, played by Gwyneth Paltrow. Now living a life of privilege Tom is willing to do anything to keep that life. Matt Damon plays this character wonderfully. Tom is an indifferent, cold hearted, and immoral individual who will lie, cheat, steal, and even murder to achieve his goal. Throughout the movie, Tom invents stories to create a beautiful life the viewer can sense he did not live. There is also vulnerability in Tom and a need to be a better person by assuming another identity Tom sees as worthy.
In the film, Tom longs to be close to Dickie and create a true friendship with him. Tom is even tempted to tell Dickie the truth about his past. However, as the rich often do, Dickie tires of Tom and is soon dismissing his relationship with Tom. Dickie turns cruel and accuses Tom of becoming a parasite and a fraud. This trait in Dickie has the viewer feeling as if Dickie is using Tom so to the viewer Tom becomes the hero. As the hero, the audience is elated when Tom eludes the authorities and escapes justice. The movie theme is about understanding and accepting oneself no matter how life has treated you. Dickie had wealth and power yet was selfish with little to no concern for an individual's feelings. Tom grew up wanting to be something he was not and had an overwhelming need for others to see him as perfect. For those who find this theme represented to dramatically the same theme can be found in the 1948 musical film "The Pirate" with Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. Throughout the film, the lighting was used to express a desired mood or tone in the storyline. A prime example of this was Tom and Dickies first meeting. Dickie is shown in the sunlight as tan, fit, and almost as if, he has a glow around him. While Tom is, pale and looks out of place on the bright beaches of Italy. This is symbolic to represent Tom as an outsider looking in on Dickie's world. This gives the viewer an insight as to how desperate Tom is to enter the sunlight. The film angle also created the desired effects throughout the movie. Tom wants to be Dickie and several camera angles catch Tom studying Dickie. In the scenes the viewer can comprehend, Tom wants to monitor every movement so he can imitate them. The best example of the camera angle supporting the theme can be found during the last train ride Tom and Dickie share. The movie audience can watch Tom's reflection in the mirror due to the camera angle. This scene captures how well Matt Damon has played this troubled character. Tom lies next to Dickie and takes large whiffs of him. Tom is almost sucking the life out of Dickie so that he might truly become him. Thanks to the lighting and camera angles, the mover viewer can understand Tom and his struggle to be accepted by society. These film tricks bring the theme to life and the audience supports Tom as the victim instead of the murder.
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