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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.
When I discovered that this movie was playing in theaters. I didn't care to
see it, since it looked uninteresting to me; nevertheless, after finding out
it was directed by one of my favorite directors - Anthony Miguella - I
rented it as soon as I could. Anthony Miguella's movies are amazing. I
really felt over the course of the movie that Anthony Miguella directed it,
since it seemed like the superb film "The English Patient". "The talented
Mr. Ripley" is rather fascinating. It's very well told and acted. Matt Damon
was amazing in portraying Mr. Ripley. He seemed like a very kind and shy man
at the beginning of the movie, but after going to Italy he shows his true
intentions - The way he always lied was incredible. I never thought a person
could be so unscrupulous to ensure his success. You'll certainly see the
differences among many personalities in this movie. Matt Damon was amazing;
he really acted quite well. He was plausible and mysterious as Mr. Ripley.
His performance made me so intrigued to find out what his end would be. I
really didn't like Matt Damon's performance in "Good Will Hunting" that
much; nevertheless he carries out his role admirably in this movie.
As for Jude Law, I think he is amazing as well. He envelops himself into the role quite well. He'll make you follow this movie without disliking it; his academy award nomination was really well deserved.
As for Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett, I think they were completely outstanding; they are both great actresses. Gwyneth Paltrow won an academy award winner for best actress in a leading role in "Shakespeare in love" in 1999. As for Cate Blanchet, she won an academy award nomination for best actress in "Elizabeth" in the same year.
The plot is rather good and interesting, the movie is beautiful visually; it was amazing to see Europe. I really like when Tom Ripley kills Dickie on a boat by hitting him with the oar. It's impressive when Dickie's face starts to bleed. I never thought a shy man like Ripley would become a killer. The way he lies to everybody to avoid the truth being revealed is thoroughly depressing; however, it shows us that lies take us nowhere. This is a good life lesson. Even though it's a good movie, I think the ending was somewhat disappointing and depressing, since I was waiting for something to happen at the end, but nothing happened. It showed us that Mr. Ripley felt Remorse because of all the things he did.
Overall, This is not as great as `The English Patient', but it's beautifully filmed and well done. 7/10
After I saw 'Shakespeare in Love', I was so wondered of Gwyneth Paltrow that I decided to see another movie with her. I chased 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' the film she made after 'Shakespeare...' Gwyneth's performance was good but the story was complicated and confusing. Jude Law was very remarkable in his role, he gave a very good performance maybe the best of all the actors. Also the small part of Cate Blancett who played Queen Elizabeth in the same named movie. Matt Damon's part was good acted but also very confusing and I don't understand some things in the movie.
But I am very grateful that actors like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude law, Matt Damon... are put in one film together it isn't such a good film but there are always good- and weak movies. But the director, actors and the crew are still very professional people who can make very big & good movies.
--->It's a film that you have to see twice when you will understand it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Those of you who haven't read the book should really do so before
watching the film.
How can anybody not have gotten around to reading these books yet? However, I digress.
Why wasn't I bowled over by this? Simple answer. Tom Ripley may have bisexual leanings but he's not hysterical. The key turning point in the book is a premeditated murder but this adaptation portrays it as a crime of passion. The truly chilling aspect of his character in Highsmith's novel is the ease with which he plans and executes this murder, presumably his first.
This threw me completely. I didn't expect the film to be able to get things like Tom's poor opinion of Dickie's Italian but I thought getting the motive right would have been possible.
But for the changes to Tom's character I though the film was actually quite good. Philip Seymour Hoffman was superb as Freddie Miles. The opening sequence was a bravura piece of film-making, expertly edited by Walter Murch. The potentially confusing plot and web of coincidences was handled quite well.
But after the murder I just kept on thinking of how off the mark the film was.
I acknowledge that this was a very good film, with superior acting throughout. And I normally like to view such films three and four times, both to pick up what I might have missed the first time, and to savor again that which I enjoyed in the first viewing. But I confess that once was enough for me on this one -- it made me too uncomfortable to contemplate a second time. Of course, this is probably a testimonial to how good a movie it is, and I'll throw in the towel and concede the point--[there may be a child in my neighborhood who is exceptionally fine at pulling the wings off of living butterflies] -- but I don't ever want to watch it, and I don't want to see this movie ever again.
The Talented Mr. Ripley tells the story of the often-charismatic Tom Ripley
(Matt Damon), whose talents of impersonation, imitation and forgery combine
with self-hatred, and tempt him with the possibility of adopting a
Set in New York in the 1950s, the story introduces "the talented Mr. Ripley" as a modest young man who was hired to play the piano at an exclusive party. A wealthy shipbuilder mistakes him for an old classmate of his son and Princeton graduate, Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law). Worried and angered by his playboy son's lifestyle of wealth, freedom and diversion in the paradisiacal southern Italy, he urges Tom (and pays him) to travel to Italy and persuade Dickie to return home. Impressed by his own ability to fool the stranger, the talented Mr. Ripley travels to Italy and embarks on a risky journey of persuasion.
The beautiful landscapes (of Venice, Tuscany, the Gulf of Naples, and southern Sicily, among other locations); the friendly girlfriend, Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow); and the enviable popularity of the handsome Dickie (as with his "bon vivant" friend Freddie, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) overwhelm Tom and amuse the viewer. Motivated by a dangerously potent and well-repressed desire to possess the very lifestyle Dickie personifies (a desire which is subtly and shyly represented with scattered innuendoes of homosexuality), Tom realizes that being with Dickie is not as promising a reward as becoming Dickie. Parting from the overly simplistic premise and main character's motto, "it's better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody", The Talented Mr. Ripley focuses more on its main character's abilities than on his need for a different identity; a choice which does not allow for a fuller development of this potentially intriguing character.
Otherwise, the film successfully transmits the lifestyle Tom longs for, as a result of the better-defined character of Dickie, and of the desirability the actor Jude Law effectively projects.
Patricia Highsmith was fortunate to have Alfred Hitchcock adapt her
"Strangers on a Train" for the screen--and alas, she would have been equally
fortunate had Hitchcock tackled "The Talented Mr. Ripley". He would have
made more sense of the proceedings--and given it the kind of pace that would
have heightened the suspense.
But that's not to say that the film is a failure--not by any means. There are two fascinating central performances by Jude Law and Matt Damon. Unfortunately, there is a highly unsatisfactory performance by a miscast Gwyneth Paltrow. But that is not much of a flaw in this case because the film revolves entirely about the behavior of Damon and Law. It is their relationship with its homoerotic overtones that supplies the main interest and keeps the film from lagging before it reaches a rather unsatisfactory ending.
The Italian locations are breathtaking in color. All in all, an interesting film but it needed that Hitchcock touch.
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