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This was my first introduction to Matt Damon yet as brilliant as his
performance is Gwyneth Paltrow's stuck with me. Her terror, horror and
panic when confronting Tom in his room and finally understanding what
had happened was so real as to be inspire awe in me. That is when I
realized I was watching a major talent. Having seen Matt Damon movies
since that first viewing I see that I had watched two major talents in
a movie that was the work of genius. Everything came together in a
perfect storm to produce a perfect movie.
The story unfolds inexorably as it slowly at first and then quickly rushes towards its logical conclusion. Although there could only be one outcome it never seemed foregone to me until we reached the culmination of everything that had gone before.
To know Tom Ripley is to hate him yet only Marge and Tom see the real Ripley.
Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is a struggling lower class bathroom attendant
in 1950s Manhattan. He's mistaken for being in the world of the super
wealthy when an upper crust man hires Tom to retrieve his wayward son
Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) from Italy for $1000. He finds Dickie with
his girlfriend Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow) and is lured into the
world of the leisure class. When Dickie gets tired of Tom, Tom does the
unthinkable and uses his underhanded skills to hang on.
Director/writer Anthony Minghella has instilled a sense of dread and foreboding. The acting is top notch with the most important coming from Matt Damon and Jude Law. There are honorable mentions to Philip Seymour Hoffman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett. I do wish they play up Tom Ripley's homosexual side with Dickie and intensify the creepiness. Other than that, this movie has the perfect tone and sense of doom. It is such a perverse movie that you almost root for the conniving Tom Ripley.
This film is absolutely riveting from the first moment to the last. Matt Damon is positively smashing as Tom Ripley, grabbing the audience immediately and never letting go. You're with Tom every minute no matter what he does and he does plenty. Damon may very well be straight in real life, but here you never believe for a moment that he is, no matter who's in his arms - male or female. Damon's pan-sexual persona is so powerfully played out here that you wouldn't mind hopping in bed with him if half given the chance. He's that sparkling, like champagne bubbling over with foam. What a guy! What a performance! It's Damon's film and no one stands a chance next to him. The cast is stellar but Damon rules and ultimately every head is turned in his direction.
When I first saw this movie in late 1999 in the theaters, I was stunned
by how beautifully-crafted it was --- and it got great reviews, too.
I found it a wonderful period piece, very atmospheric, a real artistic feat.
Yet, the industry seemed to forget about the film by the time the Oscars rolled around just 3 months later (it did get some nominations, it's true). The movie's never mentioned anywhere, and it just appears to have been wiped from collective memory almost instantly.
Even stranger, it had (and has) an odd anti-fan base that HATE it with a passion.
I hate to be snobbish, but was this just too good for mainstream audiences? And is this picture one of those that's going to have to be "rediscovered" in 20 years as an unsung, forgotten classic?
When people on the lower rungs of the social ladder see those on the
upper rungs, they may wonder what do those people up there have that we
don't? Are they really smarter? Do they have so much more talent? Or is
it only that those in the upper circles get more opportunities while
others have to climb there way up and try to prove themselves while
those enjoying the benefits take it for granted? It might seem unfair.
However, maybe there's a different way. What if someone pretended like
he or she were already among the social elite? What if someone
fabricated their education, their talents and their social standing to
infiltrate the upper class which often seems barred to those in the
lower classes? Would they possibly gain opportunities by simply
pretending that they were already a member? Of course they would not
only have to create a personal history but also master the etiquette of
those on top.
This is what the young Tom Ripley sets out to do in his first episode of infiltrating the upper echelons through deceit and eventually crime. Matt Damon, in a tour-de-force performance, is a lowly hotel worker who manages to get into social gatherings of the upper-crust. He plays piano at a high-class event, substituting for someone who didn't want to take the gig. He even borrows a jacket with the Princeton Univesity logo. There he meets an older couple whose son went to Princeton. When the couple inquire if Ripley had met their son, he acts as if they were old friends. We learn that the son is living in Italy and that his father desperately wants him to return. He offers Ripley $1000 plus expenses if he'll go to Italy and bring him back his son.
In a short time, Ripley is in an Italian town replete with stone walkways and narrow streets. He finds Dickie Greenleaf, played by Jude Law in an equally stunning performance, living in a perpetual paradise with his girlfriend Marge (Gwentheth Paltro). Because he's independently wealthy, Dickie drinks and plays Jazz, and occasionally cheats on his girlfriend. all the while housed in a beautiful seaside apartment. Ripley befriends the couple, and they become a kind of strange three-some. The three get along almost like a little family, with Ripley and Dickie like brothers, and Marge acting both as the female lover of Dickie but also rather maternal towards the other two males. Another friend of Dickie's enters into the menage a trois, Freddie (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who suspects something isn't quite right with Tom Ripley. Dickie and Tom's friendship becomes strained when, at one point, Dickie also begins to question who Ripley really is and his motives.
A stunning completely character-driven story. The acting is absolutely first rate. The most impressive is the relationship between Damon and Law which is so believable you feel as if you're spying on real people rather than watching a movie. The actors create a mystical bond which is uncommon in film, reminiscent of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and like films. But here, there is a perfect blend of drama and suspense which makes Ripley one of the most interesting and original of films.
The Talented Mr. Ripley is a very intelligent, well-made thriller. This
film had a great premise, wonderful acting, and scenes that reminded me
of films from the 70's. I decided to watch this film solely based on
the fact that this is an early Matt Damon movie and all the award
attention it got.
This film is about Tom Ripley who is assigned to go to Italy to send back home a son who moved away from America. But things always don't go according to the plan....
The acting is incredible. This all-star cast boasts the talent of Matt Damon, Jude Law. Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. They all were just very, very good.
Overall, this is just a wonderful thriller with surprises at every turn. Also, I must mention the cinematography. I was impressed what I learned about the Italian culture from that. I rate this film 9/10.
I was thrilled and terrified by this movie, but also shocked that none
of its reviewers seemed to understand it. Almost every review I've read
misses the point of Tom Ripley's degrading job at Carnegie Hall's men's
room: He worked the job so he could hear great music for free; for an
aspiring young concert pianist, it was actually a pretty good job in
Nobody seems to have noticed that while Dickie Greenleaf just wants to goof around in Europe, Tom Ripley actually wants to play the piano professionally. Yes, of course he wants to be rich, but he doesn't just want to be rich for the sake of being rich. When Freddy finds him in Rome, he finds him because his landlady hears him practicing the piano at all hours. Tom Ripley longs for the rich life, but he wants it so he can play the piano! His horrible tragedy is not only that he kills the only person who can ever love him; it's also that he kills the only person who could ever understand and embrace him as an artist. He starts out as an aspiring artist with a once-in-a-lifetime freak chance, and ends up a serial killer.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have just one thing that is giving me the absolute irrits about this film and that is the situation leading up to the murder scene or dickie.....why go out in a small boat, just the 2 of u and proceed to tell a guy u hate him, that u basically don't like him anymore and not expect him to lash out?????? of course ripley was going to do something, i mean he wasn't that much of a wuss....only that scene irritates me out of a very good movie non the less.
This is a brilliant movie, and I personally don't understand why some
reviewers here loathed it so much. The film has great acting, deliciously
dark & narcisistic characters, and a plot that at times reminded me of
Hitchcock. It is a story of a great talent born out of
As for the casts, they did a great job. Jude Law is great being an obnoxious rich boy. Cate Blanchett, while she did not have much onscreen time, she is as lovely as ever. I've always viewed Matt Damon as the more talented actor than his other "creative" counterpart, Ben Affleck. In the beginning of the story, Mr. Ripley is a social mess, always nervous around people, and hates himself. However at the end of the film, he is the epitome of moral grayness, a dangerous mix of being a sociopath and conflicting emotions. He becomes both repulsive and pathetically sad at the same time. Hoooboy, not good.
As for people hating this movie, I often hear complaints regarding the character Mr Ripley; about how bad, wacko, and crazy he is and that the movie is terrible because of him. Well I always say to these people: what is wrong with you?? It is like having an unstable element - much like the excitement of waiting for a deadly fire underneath the shimmering surface to explode - that makes Talented Mr Ripley worth watching. Another word, this movie is nothing less than a A+ grade psychological thriller. Did those who criticized this movie saw their own insecurities within Mr Ripley and in turn becomes uncomfortable to fully appreciate its finer points? Perhaps, I don't know for sure.
I loved The English Patient with its melachonly, ambient middle-eastern atmosphere, and now Anthony Minghella has taken us inside one person's dark & disturbing mind and his pathetic effort to cover his own identity ... at all costs. Highly recommended for the intelligent viewers.
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