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The Talented Mr. Ripley
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Talented Mr. Ripley More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 4 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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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Total flatline...

2/10
Author: Beerdrinking Dog (beerdrinking_dog@zonnet.nl) from The Netherlands
10 December 2000

*** 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...)

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Hitchcockian Brilliance

9/10
Author: TheFilmFreak1 from Australia
25 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After the success of 'The English Patient', director Anthony Minghella conceived of his next project as another adaptation (after Rene Clement's 'Plein Soleil') of Patricia Highsmith's 1955 pulp novel 'The Talented Mr. Ripley'. While Clement's version is generally excellent and intelligently conceived, the censorship constrains of the era rendered the film too subdued in its treatment of the homoerotic sexual undertones of the source material to really have an impact on the audience. Mingella's film, however, is substantially more explicit and candourous in both its theme and content, permitting both for the characters to be depicted in all their multifaceted and variable glory and for a visceral degree of suspense to develop long before the bodies even start piling up.

Concurrently a modernist exploration of film noir – stressing the Byzantine plot schematics, dreamlike visuals, and behavioural factors of the genre's archetypes with delicious hyperbole – and a conservative dissection of vanity and hedonism (something of a contrast with Highsmith's glorification of those things in her original novel), the film primarily looks at social status, with the work's two main characters – Tom Ripley and Dickie Greenleaf (two excellent performances from Matt Damon and Jude Law – representing the higher (Dickie) and lower (Tom) levels of the social taxonomy.

By using film noir's archetypes – characters whom either allow their affluence or high social status to persuade them to pursue impossible goals or whom, if poor, obsess with 'making a quick buck' –, Minghella is able to both mock the vices of high society and, through investing sympathy in Ripley's character through the indifferent and intermittently cruel behaviour that Dickie directs toward him, expose both the superficiality and the manipulative and temporal nature of a high social status (along with the 'la dolce vita' lifestyle it connotes). However, this point is most effectively illustrated not through Dickie's representation of the upper classes, but through Tom Ripley's destructive pursuit of them.

From the film's opening montage of Ripley's squalid existence in the ghettos of New York, we see his burning desire to be among a higher class of people surmised brilliantly with such images as him wiping a rich man's jacket in his capacity as a lavatory attendant and his forbidden look into a recital from behind the curtain of a personal booth. Ripley is willing to do practically anything to achieve a higher status; firstly becoming acquainted with jazz (which he clearly dislikes) as a means to befriend Dickie, then demonstrating all his skills of mimicry and forging, along with revealing the intent of his meeting Dickie, to preserve that friendship, to finally killing Dickie and stealing his identity.

As matters escalate, so do Ripley's methods of preserving his wrongfully-obtained status. He murders Dickie's inquisitive friend Freddie Miles (a Seymour Hoffman performance fleetingly glimpsed though worthy of a thousand accolades), fakes Dickie's suicide, attempts to murder Dickie's former fiancée Marge Sherwood (Paltrow in one of her better roles), and, in the film's haunting dénouement, murders Peter Smith-Kingsley (Jack Davenport), the only character in the whole film who has the potential to offer Tom some sort of salvation. And as Ripley's finally descends into an incubus of guilt and regret, the film finally presents his status anxiety as hubris with the line "I always thought it would be better, to be a fake somebody... than a real nobody."

Yet these reflections are simply the eventualities of the film's exploration of it's thematic concerns; what really matters is that this is a beautifully photographed (John Seale's best work), superbly scripted, wonderfully acted, exquisitely scored (Gabriel Yared channels Bernard Herrmann with such professional austerity that one would think that Yared is Herrmann's reincarnation), and, dare I write, 'talentedly' directed. This, for me, is Minghella's magnum opus!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Although sometimes maligned as a bad career choice for Damon, it is anything but, being a totally riveting and memorable film

9/10
Author: Amy Adler from Toledo, Ohio
27 October 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) works in a music hall and wishes, so, so much, that he was rich. He did attend an Ivy league school but, as a scholarship student, he was never in the limelight. A chance encounter with Mr. Greenleaf, a wealthy gentleman, results in a European vacation for Tom. This is because Mr. Greenleaf is hoping young Mr. Ripley can persuade his ex-patriot son, Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) and his beautiful girlfriend, Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow) to return to the United States. But, once there, Tom gets caught up in joining Dickie and company in their "high life" existence, for Dickie assumes that Tom is a rich classmate he just never really knew. Only one friend (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) suspects that Mr. Ripley is not who he seems. Things get even more complicated when a boat trip taken by Dickie and Tom goes tragically awry. Will Tom's insatiable wealth-envy destroy the lives of those around him? This is a first-rate film, no matter what others have written about it. It has a sensational plot, a wonderful cast, and is gloriously lovely to look at, with its exotic locales and great costumes. As the principal cast member, Damon is excellently subdued in a most difficult and complicated role. Law, Paltrow, Hoffman, and all of the lesser cast members are great, also. Then, too, the direction is energetic and tantalizing, giving full fruition to the ingeniously sinister plot. In summary, don't skip this one, if you care about classic suspense films. Many a viewer will find it a great, great watch.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant, fantastic, thrilling (10/10 rating).

Author: Buffy from Hellhole
18 March 2003

`The Mysterious Yearning Secretive Sad Lonely Troubled Confused Loving Musical Gifted Intelligent Beautiful Tender Sensitive Haunted Passionate Talented Mr. Ripley' is too good a movie to explain why its so good. Basically, the feel is fantastic. The ambience and violence subtly concealed in the silence of its emotions is enigmatic. This movie captures the essence of the original novel and every scene in the film justifies its presence.

The screenplay, direction, the cast and location are most appropriate and do full justification to the story. Matt Damon excels in the role of Tom and is able to portray the emotions that Tom goes through in adverse situations extremely well. The adoration of Dickie turning into the desire to be exactly like Dickie, the anger and hurt caused by Dickie's indifference and rejection, the tumult after the realization of his actions, the panic on being discovered by Freddie and Marge, the immediate recovery from panic into the grim resolve to nip the trouble in the bud, the acceptance of the unfortunate but necessary elimination of Peter, everything has been enacted out by Matt Damon beautifully and his is a truly outstanding performance, worthy of the Oscar.

This film is true to the portrayal of Ripley's mind at work. The depiction of the frustrations of being a real nobody in a world which demands lot more than it can give forces people to try to become a fake somebody is brilliantly exhibited in each scene. The human mind is a labyrinth of pleasure and pain and it rationalizes each act of aggression with justifications created and accepted by the mind itself. Even the sense of success and failure in life is controlled by the mind and the illusion is sometimes too great to overcome.

This movie provoked me into reading Patricia Highsmith's book and the later Ripley novels to track the growth of the central character. I have yet to read "Ripley Underwater" though.

Brilliant movie.

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4 out of 6 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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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A Classic Suspense Masterpiece

10/10
Author: doctor_dolittle from Tucson, AZ, USA
4 August 2000

I'm convinced that when you watch this movie you either going to absolutely love it or truly despise it. The Talented Mr. Ripley opens to a group of black lines running up and down the screen, much like the beginning of Psycho, and continues on the same level as the classic all the way throughout the film. Matt Damon gives a chilling performance as Tom Ripley, a 1950's sociopath with a love for the piano. While borrowing a Princeton jacket from someone to tickle the ivories, Tom runs into Mr. Greenleaf who mistakes Tom for a Princeton graduate, therefore associating him with his playboy son, Dickie, played perfectly by Jude Law. Mr. Greenleaf offers Tom $1,000 to go to Italy and bring back his spoiled brat. Being nothing but a poor boy, Tom does not correct the man on his assumption and gladly takes the trip and money. While in Italy, Tom meets up with Dickie and his betrothed Margie, Gwyneth Paltrow, convincing them, as he had done with Mr. Greenleaf, that he knew Dickie from college. Dickie and Tom strike up an instant friendship, and perhaps more, making each the brother the other never had. As the story progresses, it does not turn into a typical slash and gash flick, but a slower-paced, tense psychological thriller, putting you directly into the mind of a truly disturbed man, and in doing so, making you actually root for the bad guy. Tom Ripley is the obvious villain, but you just cannot help but like him. Making Tom so enjoyable is his complexity, and the disgust you feel for the other characters. Tom is confused man with motives that do not depend on revenge or hatred, but love. When Tom meets his socialite companions, he believes they actually care him. Margie puts out an `I'll be your best friend' demeanor while Dickie confuses Tom, who is already flustered by his sexuality, into believing he loves him. Dickie is a spoiled, rude, angry, adulterer, his girlfriend is an overbearing back-stabber, his best friend, is almost as bad as Dickie himself, and then there's Meredith, another pampered, egocentric rich girl. With a group of `innocent' victims like this, it is no wonder that Tom becomes the most amicable. Anthony Minghella combines lush landscape, spine-tingling music, and deliberate pacing to create a chilling classic. True-to-life characters, exotic locations, a conceivable story, and the surprise of homosexual overtones, we are given a film that will, no doubt, go down in cinematic history as a landmark masterpiece. Every performance is right on the money. Matt Damon has that boy-next-door look that really scares you into thinking that anyone could be a psychotic murderer. Where many actors would overdo Ripley by giving him evil grins or wide eyes around every corner, Matt Damon underplays this and makes Tom frighteningly realistic. Along with him, the supporting actors are excellent. Jude Law manages to pull off an American accent to perfection and turns Dickie Greenleaf from a self-centered rich boy into a hated bastard. Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchet are also wonderful in their contrasting female leads, Philip Seymour Hoffman pulls off another great performance as Freddie, Dickie's counter spoiled-brat, and Jack Davenport is incredible as Peter, the only character that is actually ultimately good-natured. Sensational direction, superb casting, and a tight-locked script make The Talented Mr. Ripley one of the 10 Best films of the year. A+! A chilling good time!

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12 out of 22 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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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Melodrama and intrigue by good director Anthony Minghella.

7/10
Author: psagray from Spain
28 September 2013

It is a melodrama, with intelligence and with certain parts with a brief touch of humor, but more importantly, without doubt, is the ability of the actors to make you feel that the viewer is the protagonist. You will get to feel the joy, the fear, the anguish they felt in every part of this film.

Minghella is a smart director because he could renew and revolutionize epic films - romantic classic "The Inglés Patient" and "Cold Mountain". He gave an amazing insight to melodrama with "Breaking and Entering". And in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" follows in the footsteps of Hitchcock, with a magnificent film adaptation by Patricia Higsmith accessible prose without losing intelligence , showing the "dolce vita" Italian without losing the classicism of its scenarios, (In Naples, Ischia, Rome, Venice), also aspects related to their characters. Also leads a splendid cast, in which the trio is masterful in his best role Damon, repulsive and poignant, Paltrow totally emotional and real, Blanchet with an elegance and a package worthy of a classic movie star, Hoffman left and repulsive and Law doing such a good job that makes everything public to draw at Ripley's in one, envy, admiration, revulsion and anger it causes.

The film keeps you in constant tension. It also has very nice parts that fail to make the viewer gets excited.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Talented Mr Ripley.

Author: jemai01 from United States
16 September 2011

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 Dickie home.

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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