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I have just seen this film on TV.While I felt the cast were all excellent in their performances and the setting in Italy excellent, the film was a bit of a let down for me. I had in my mind all the hype from when it was released (Minghella had had recent success with The English Patient) so settled down to watch with anticipation. All throughout this film I was expecting something to happen but it never did. Sure there were some tense - ish moments when there may have been a possibility of Ripley being found out but they came and went quite quickly.The ending was very much a great let down and although it may have been shot like that to provoke thought for the viewer i'm afraid the only thought it provoked in me was "ay?". This film was boring and a waste of two and a half hours of my life.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't think that movies based upon books should follow slavishly
their source (for instance, the recent verbatim movie transcription of
Harry Potter is for me a pointless exercise). But, at least, the movie
should respect the spirit of the original, and this is what didn't
happen with the movie version of Patricia Highsmith's "The Talented Mr
Ripley," in which Ripley, the most calculating, icy-blooded sociopath
ever to hit the world of fiction becomes a repentant sinner, a killer
with a conscience who sees the ghost of his murdered victim on the
streets. This is all wrong: it is like a movie version of "Crime and
Punishment" in which Raskolnikov doesn't repent. Maybe you would get an
interesting movie, but it would not be "Crime and Punishment" and it
should not be entitled to call itself an adaptation of that book.
Another thing is the homosexuality angle: it rather bothers me, this trend to believe that authors did not refer to certain things in a brutally honest manner because they were prudes or because censorship restraints prevented them from doing so. I think that Highsmith's subtle handling of Ripley's possible homosexuality is a conscious aesthetic choice. Let's say that the movie's handling of this matter is as unsubtle as everything else about it.
The general result is, as Stephen King put it, not good or bad, just blah. It underestimates the intelligence of its audience and essentially wastes a very good cast, starting with a fine Matt Damon and an excellent Jude Law. Nobody gets more wasted, however, than Cate Blanchett, whose character (which does not exist in any of Ripley's books) is so fluffy that there is very little she can do about it, other than rolling her eyes and smiling uncertainly.
Or, then, maybe it's me who is all wrong. I have read other comments from people who claimed to be disturbed by the movie. If they were disturbed by this diet version, how would they feel about the real thing, that puts you squarely in the shoes of a heartless killer and even forces you to root for him? Maybe the makers of this movie knew what they were doing after all...
That was certainly what it felt like. Time seemed to slow to a crawl, as did the film. The acting was good, but there was no suspense, and it dragged on for so long that I stopped caring what happened to the characters and just wanted it to end so we could watch something else. In the end I only watched it all the way through in the hopes that it would pick up, but it didn't. My dog slept all the way through it, and I wish I had too.
I looked at the rating of over 7 and I had to ask "What movie were these people watching?" Almost all the comments were positive with some of them stating that the last third went a little downhill. I thought that first 2 thirds were uncomfortably bad and the last part actually better, albeit not that much. Yes, pacing was a problem and acting too! Matt Damon was woefully out of place and I had no idea what the point of this movie was. Mediocre would be a kind description for this bland waste of time. I guess they can't all be good!!
I sincerely hesitated before renting THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY this past
weekend. I had heard rumors from others who were dissatisfied with this
film, unhappy with their reaction to Anthony Minghella's follow-up to his
majorly successful "The English Patient." Just the fact that Minghella
directed it made me quiver. "English Patient" has to be one of my most
films for which much praise was received. However, something compelled me
pick it up. Maybe Minghella deserved another chance in my books. This time,
he was using marquee actors of a more popular nature, rather than
thespians like Kristin Scott Thomas and Juliette Binoche. The moment I
popped the DVD in and viewed this picture, I was hooked and enthralled.
Talented Mr. Riply" uses just the right amount of artistry and goes thick
plot and method acting to create a thriller which the great Hitchcock would
have been proud of.
I must admit the previews made me take interest in this film before I considered looking at it. The plot seemd so fascinating, and it surely is. I'll only mention the minute details of it so as not to spoil anything for those who have not seen it, and also so I don't screw up some of the descriptions. Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is a bland, ordinary individual who longs to become someone else other than the nobody who is himself. He gets that opportunity when a man named Greenleaf (James Rebhorn) offers him $1,000 to retrieve his son from Europe, whom he suspects is frittering his money and his life away. Ripley takes on the assignment, and surprisingly, as soon as he meets up with Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), he immediately tells him his intentions and quickly becomes his best buddy. His girlfriend, Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow) is also very impressed with their new acquaintance. Little do they know that Tom Ripley's main "talent" is impersonating people around him, taking on their identities and making them his own. Dickie's will be his first one to capture.
I mentioned that Sir Alfred would have been pleased to see this film if he were alive today, and while I was watching "Ripley," I couldn't help but be amazed by the technical and narrative similarities to Hitch's archetypes, which today are endlessly duplicated. I found it riveting how the plot and the director focus in on the scheming of Ripley, allowing the audience to be swept up in his improvisation and daring manner of always running under the knife. I don't know if the DVD technology is a considerable enhancement here, but Minghella's direction also takes on a life of its own. The purposeful shading and camera angles take on almost a voyeuristic quality, as if we the viewer are objectively but holistically involved in Ripley's feats of derring-do. The cinematography is fancy, but not overly distracting. Its viewpoint is always set on the characters and how they relate with each other.
The performances are carefully choreographed but consistently drawn to look natural and of-the-moment. Such aspects are especially important in the case of Matt Damon, who takes the character of Tom Ripley and subtly makes him look pathetic but endlessly interesting to watch. Jude Law plays such a three-dimensional character here that his might be the most difficult one to play among the key players. Dickie Greenleaf (the real one) must be outgoing and friendly but also cold and disheartening. We may be repelled by him, but his fate never seems warranted, even during his most tragic hour. Gwyneth is beautiful as always, but also finds the right note for a woman who is unrightfully left behind and deceived by both these leading men. Cate Blanchett also has a small and thankless role as an innocent European traveller who happens upon this happy throng, totally unaware of the deception and indecency that is going on. She was probably my favorite character of them all, a symbol that Hitchcock created many years before.
When critics and film fans remarked that the end of 1999 saw some of the best films in a blue moon hit theaters, I am inclined to believe them. Along with other favorites of mine like "The Green Mile" and "American Beauty," I would vote for "The Talented Mr. Ripley" as one of the best films of the year. It is smart, visually and narratively creative, and on a whole, a truly satisfying entertainment. For thinking viewers, it is a special treat. For casual moviegoers, I believe there is still much to behold in this film, even if you are not one who is used to letting movies soak into your system. Minghella takes his time unwinding this ingenious tale, but the unfolding of the plot and the eventual pay-off is a chilling and fulfilling movie experience. Rating: Four stars
The Talented Mr.Ripley is a wonderful film,wonderfully directed by Anthony
Minghella. Minghella shows again that he is a
brilliant director. He can create a really fantastic
atmosphere,like he did here.
The Italy of the 50's was splendid.The images of Venice,Rome and all the
other locations in Italy were one of the most beautiful filmed locations I
ever saw on the silver screen.
The music in this picture was also wonderful. But most important in a film
are the performances by the actors, and they were also great. Matt Damon
played Tom Ripley in a very good way,as a poor pathethic guy who is ready to
do everything to become like Dickie Greenleaf(excellent performed by Jude
Law). Jude Law was great as the rich playboy Dickie and also the supporting
roles were brilliant performed by Gwyneth Paltrow,Philip Seymour-Hoffman and
My conclusion is that "The Talented Mr.Ripley" is together with "American Beauty" the best movie of last year,and I really don't know why Ripley didn't get any Academy Awards. The film really deserved it.
This film is highly overrated when it comes to the plot, the characters, the
setting and the location.
The fault is not the actors though. It is undoubtly Anthony Minghella's - he, who also directed the true stinker "The English Patient". Once again his love for the pittoresque Italy gives us a bizarre environment - showing us this pretty European country that gets so pretty it is grotesque.
Whenever Dickie or Tom or Marge or ANYONE passes the streets of Rome or Mongibello, there is either some nuns, a priest or a woman selling water melons! The Italy of it simply gets too Italian! And the characters dances as stars around in this poor, under developped but charming little country.
When it comes to the characters and the plot, it is evidently that Minghella has destroyed Patricia Highsmith's novel, which is quite allright. We never get to believe in Tom Ripley as a person, since he in Minghellas film simply gets too good at doing what he does. The foolishness peaks when the American detective Macmarron cannot see through his obvious lies. It is a shame for Matt Damon, who basically is being foolish in this film and never giving us an opportunity to see what he can do.
Dickie Greenleaf is actually the true hero of this film. I wish he had been killing Tom instead and so we could have been seeing some more of the talented Jude Law.
Gwyneth Paltrow's Marge is simply unbelieveable. People like her does not exist. And Gwyneth tries to save this poor fact by playing herself. So - Gwyneth is Gwyneth.
Cate Blanchett of course get a lot out of being Meredith - a blindfolded poor girl. I guess this film shows who really should have been given the Best Actress Oscar of '99....
Anthony Minghella means kitsch. As he is pouring people, things and Italy together in the way too beautiful pictures, he destroys finally this film. It is really a shame.
The film is fascinating and completely pulls you in. Matt Damon's performance in this dark, psychologically intense thriller is flawless. I am very disappointed and amazed that such an incredible film and all the work that had been put into making it were completely disregarded by the Academy. I expected Ripley to be up there with American Beauty...
Excellent movie wherein Italy, the 1950's and jazz almost become their
own characters. Top notch cast and intriguing storyline. Here Matt
Damon plays Tom Ripley, a charming mimic and social-climbing
psychopath, who is sent to Italy to return a wealthy playboy (Jude Law)
home to his father. Tom slowly becomes obsessed with the lifestyle and
his new friend however and events take a deadly turn on a nice calm day
out in a rowboat.
Every time I see this movie Matt Damon's acting skills impress me more (as does that neon green speedo.) I also always notice some new clue that I'd missed. Should mention (although its obvious) how great Phillip Seymour Hoffman is. Brilliant movie 11.13(3)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Pros to this movie: Excellent Actors/Actresses; Excellent acting;
Very interesting story; Suspenseful; and Engaging.
The Cons to this movie: It's a bleak testament of human weakness and desperation that grew into extremes, which life is like, unfortunately, far too many times.
Some people thought the story was way too far fetched to be realistic. I disagree. I've seen these things, and I've also learned of numerous stories throughout human history that were even more extreme - and true.
Human nature is not always a beautiful thing. People can be among several people on a regular basis and have an adequate number of friends, yet still feel completely alone and isolated within their minds. The fear of loneliness, of an inadequate life, of not being accepted or truly loved can plague such a high percentage of people. All of us can experience those things at one time or another in life, yet there are those that are consistently and literally tormented with those fears.
This is a story of a such a man, who was given a very tempting offer, where an alternate opportunity of evil presented itself. He could have done the right thing to assist a father, as well as to positively influence that father's son in doing the right thing, yet, due to the character not tending to his mental/psychological ills, he choose that alternate opportunity, which lead to his, and to other's demise.
The story is completely believable. All we have to do is pick up the newspaper to realize that these kinds of things go on all around us, all over the world. And THAT is what makes this story so unsettling and frightening.
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