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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Some are loved by gods, others hated. Of those who inspire hatred of gods, some manage to live with it." Minghella is a great director. He made Damon play that creepy Ripley chap so convincingly, his craving so strongly portrayed, I could hardly believe it, remembering Damon's disastrous performance as the Good Will Hunting. He managed to make Paltrow look just a little bit overdone, which is a remarkable achievement. Much has been made of Jude Law's performance (oscar included), and though I really failed to see anything noteworthy, he was alright.
Hoffman is brilliant as Freddy. Italian footage is spectacular. Camera is excellent.
Yet... half an hour before the end I hated the film so intensely, I was almost surprised to find myself hating it even more in the 30 minutes that followed.
Why? It is abominably slow. And all the passion is spent on painting the psychological background for the murder in the first part of the film, and none is left even to try to make it convincing or just plain logical. Halfway into the movie you become absolutely sure that Ripley will kill Dickie, yet when he finally does it, you can't believe it. Ripley escapes, each time by a margin narrowing so rapidly as to become negative by the end.
If you add up all the various aspects of this film, it should have been
terrific. It had a hot and talented young cast, all of whom gave good to
great performances. It had wonderful locations, costumes, props and music.
It had an intriguing plot. And yet by the end all I felt was
This was a case of a director who couldn't induce the full potential out of his various resources. Anthony Minghella does a fine job on the cinematography and choice of beautiful locations in Italy, but his crafting of the story left it predictable and flaccid. This was supposed to be both a character study and a thriller. It was inadequate on both counts.
In a well made character study the viewer will come to understand the motivations of the characters. This film never delivers in this regard. The only character that was well developed was Dickie (Jude Law). Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow) was a mystery, just a hanger on. Meredith (Cate Blanchett) was nothing more than a plot device. But the biggest reason it came up short was because the motivation of Ripley (Matt Damon) was left too ambiguous. Was Ripley a cunning con man orchestrating a grand caper, an inept interloper who bungled his way through a propitious opportunity, a victim of circumstances, an unrequited gay lover who committed a crime of passion and then needed to cover his trail? Take your pick. Minghella doesn't tell the story in a way that makes this clear.
As a thriller, it lacked surprise. Every murder was telegraphed. The private investigator gives Ripley a pass at the end, obviating the need for Ripley to provide some clever explanation for all the inconsistencies. There was not a single twist in the entire film. It had all the intrigue of playing open handed bridge.
For all the raves I've read about Matt Damon's performance, I found it rather uneven. Sometimes he came across as a clever mastermind and at others a wounded puppy. It seemed like he wasn't really sure how to play the character. Again, I put the responsibility for this on Minghella. I'd call it a generally good performance of a difficult character, but not even close to his dynamism in Good Will Hunting'.
This was a shining moment for Jude Law who gave a career performance as Dickie. He basically stole the show out from under Damon's nose. He endowed his character with exuberance, and a cavalier live-for-today attitude that made him charismatic despite his callousness and irresponsibility. I enjoyed his performance in the unheralded Music From Another Room' but this one was even better. If he keeps improving like this, he will be a force to be reckoned with.
I rated this film a 6/10 on the strength of Law's performance and the cinematography. The telling of the story fell flat and robbed this film of its real potential.
Okay, I have already reviewed this film once, but I felt it necassary to add additional comments after watching it on video. Unlike American Beauty which didn't play up as well on a TV screen, this remains just as creepy and effective. As I said before it is very well acted by all involved, especailly Matt Damon and Jude Law. There is one thing that puzzles me though. Why the heck didn't Damon get an Academy Award Nomination for his brillant performance, same thing applies to the brillant direction. And I still can't believe people are still giving this film low marks like 1-5 and saying the direction is awful. Everything about this film is professional. It's score is very effective, the cinematography is beautiful and easy on the eyes. The characterizations are rich and very well done. The costumes are terrific and the ending is a shocker. Even the opening title sequence is brillant. This is my favorite film of 1999 and one of my favorites of all time. I just can not stress enough how good this film is.
I have seen reviews of this film and people give it 5/10 and 3/10. It is
just because they couldn't understand the film. I, myself found it
intriguing and my eyes were glued the the screen. The story is amazing, the
direction is fabulous and the acting is excellent. The story kept my ass
glued to my seat the whole time, with no intention of getting
In short, The Talented Mr. Ripley is the most intelligent thriller of 1999.
Matt Damon turns in one of the most effective performances I've ever seen in recent memories. He trashes his golden boy image to play a psycho, so creepy it will make your skin crawl. Every person in Hollywood after seeing this film must be scared of him. Story involves Matt Damon staring as a poor working class who borrows a Yale or was it Harvard letter jacket to play the piano at a party for some rich snobs. After it is over he finds himself being asked to go to Italy to retrieve a millionaire's son (Jude Law). Upon arrival in Italy, Damon becomes so wrapped up in the rich life style, that he kills for it. Special attention must also be payed to Law for effectively stealing every single scene he is in, even though the cast includes two Oscar winners and one Oscar nominee. And then there is the beautiful cinematography, and the brilliant music score, and the terrific costumes and locations that makes us feel like we're back in Italy in the 50's. And then there is of course the brillant direction and script. What a terrific film. My favorite film of 1999 and one of my favorite films of all time. A perfect 10 for 10. Go see this film right away.
I'm still left with some disappointment in this movie. Yes, Matt Damon did
the most challenging role of his career so far, and he was convincing, but
the plot itself left more to be desired. Why go so far as to kill all of
these people? What started off as something that reminded me of the
"The Count of Monte Cristo" ended up being one gory murder after another.
one point, I really thought I would vomit right there in the theatre.
The ending was the worst of all. It reminded me a lot of "Crime & Punishment," except Tom just keeps killing. It seemed so absurd, so pointless.
Yet, I can't down the film entirely. The writing was great, and so was the acting by all. The cinematography was beautifully shot, and I enjoyed the '50s attire.
But, it still reminds of that old cough medicine that promises to be great-tasting, yet it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
This movie had some of the best acting I have seen all year (except Gwyneth who is at best an entertaining actress, but not a Best actress). The story is slow, but it keeps you interested because you keep waiting to see what Damon does next, and if he will get caught. However, after 2 1/2 hours it just ends!!! It claimed to be a Hitchcock like mystery, and it was doing a heck of a job as a slow character study, but there is not payoff for the mystery itself. You can assume many things, but all of the classics at least let you know what happened to the character, no matter how twisted he or she was. This just ends. Very, very frustrating, and that let down is what you walk out with.
I, too, cannot understand what the critics and others saw in this movie. I
found it too long, too drawn out and overwhelmingly dull. Throughout, I
waited for some climactic scene, but there was none. The only saving grace
was the beautiful cinematic shots of Italy.
Save your money and use it for something else.
Infuriating and exhilarating, Mr. Ripley in a vague way echoes Hitchcock, but more explicitly recalls the homosexual panic films of the 50s-60s, i.e., Streetcar, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Reflections in a Golden Eye, Suddenly Last Summer, even Tea & Sympathy, taken of course, to different pathologies. Matt Damon has amazing moments, at times almost reverting to a terrified little girl. He just has to kill -- still defending himself from something --some childhood terror he wants to tell us about and never will. He leaves it all in a "dark basement". He's a beautiful blank page that everyone's dying to write on. One can only wonder what Monty Clift or Rock Hudson would have accomplished in this territory. Ms. Paltrow misses the boat as an expatriate, post-war bohemian novelist who can't figure out what's wrong with the plot until it's too late. She's too somber, her "intuition" kicks in way too late. Substitute Barbara Bel Geddes in Vertigo mode, Liz Taylor in Suddenly. Jude law is beyond criticism here -- and I hope he gets an oscar nomination. Minghella does a fine, detailed job walking the tightrope between the ridiculously naive and all out terror, between the homophobic impulse and a genuine desire to get beneath the skin of a monster. His last shot is masterly -- backing into a closet, the empty wire coat hangers jangling, the closet door shuts. A very disturbing film.
This movie left me wondering where my money went. I sat through the entire thing hoping that something would happen to make the movie entertaining, but all it did was have the same events happen over and over again with no resolution. It built up a lot of tension, but never releases it. I blame this solely on the screenwriter, because it was well directed, well acted, and the scenery and music were excellent, but the plot lacked. I haven't read the book, and probably never read it now. Even my friends (who like more dramatic movies than I do) were highly dissapointed. The trailer was very misleading in the fact that this movie is not suspenseful in the least as there is no real mystery to what is going on. I don't recommend this movie to anybody, instead go see "Man on the Moon" or something.
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