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Despite many flashes of visual style, this film misses opportunity after opportunity to be a truly Hitchcockian study of sociopathology. The scene in the lobby of the opera house, for example, directed by Hitchcock, would have been a genuine gasper. Other, more obvious gaffes: the film begins with narration, which never recurs (Where is Ripley when he is telling us this story? Why is he telling it? Why have only one line of this narration?); the skyline in the background of the opening scene is modern day. The film comes vividly to life in scenes where Ripley's buried emotions come to the fore -- in the boat, for example, or in the final scene -- but ultimately Matt Damon is not a strong enough actor to bring this fascinating character to life. Both he and Gwyneth Paltrow, in fact, seem startlingly amateurish alonside Jude Law, Cate Blanchet, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who are all superbly confident. The tendency of visual and sound effects to dominate modern movies here invades what could have been a wonderfully complex character study; instead it seems to be a film about photography and jazz.
This movie has a lot going for it. A great cast playing great characters
against a wonderful backdrop. However, the plot is limited and
The movie drags on, with just more of the same placing the viewer in a
I saw it on the second night it was out. About a quarter of the audience left before it was over (no joke) and a significant number of people cheered at the end, saying out loud 'Thank God it's over'. A real disappointment.
Anthony Minghella's tale of corruption and deceit feels like a movie
made during the Golden Age of Hollywood. With 1950s Europe serving as
the backdrop of the story, and the classical jazz soundtrack playing
throughout the entirety, it is hard not to feel the nostalgia of the
cinema's classical era roaming through this psychological thriller.
Minghella takes from the pages of Patricia Highsmith's novel of the
same name to orchestrate a compelling, if somewhat flawed tale of a man
consumed by corruption and deceit when the things make a horribly wrong
turn. The versatile actor masked behind the titular character is Matt
Damon who made a household name for himself when it starred with Robin
Williams as the eponymous character in 'Good Will Hunting'. What comes
about this actor's immersive talent is a performance that works like a
charm. Set in the 1950s, this film stars Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, a
Manhattan pianist who's approached by Herbert Greenleaf (played by
James Rehborn) who believes Ripley is a graduate from Princeton
University, seeing a Princeton badge on his tuxedo. He recruits him on
a mission to Italy and finds his son Dickie (played by Jude Law), a
spoiled millionaire and graduate of Princeton, and persuade him to
return home to the U.S. Upon arrival, Ripley comes face-to-face with
Dickie and his fiancée Marge (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) and almost
immediately befriends. After a few nights of drinking and jazz
concerts, his errand becomes difficult when Dickie learns of his
intentions. When the things suddenly go horribly wrong, Ripley takes
extreme measures to carry out the mission while avoiding the suspicion
of Dickie's friend Freddie Miles (played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman).
This film shows clear evidence that Anthony Minghella knows how to craft a fascinating story, even when it falls victim to a lethargic pace. The film spends an almost overwhelming amount of time to establish its premise before the plot finally kicks into gear. Although the setup pays off quite well, the pacing is enough to alienate viewers who are often accustomed to more modern-esque storytelling. But when the plot finally lights its candle, that is when the story generates a wheelhouse of unexpected twists and surprises that elevates the lead character's development. The title character's disintegration of his moral compass becomes the driving force of the story, and becomes the main source of surprises as he goes to shocking measures to deceive everyone into the person he is not. It takes a special actor like Matt Damon to effectively portray the wicked and complex nature of the lead character. His chemistry with Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow works fantastically, especially with their performances serving a great support. Law gives a fantastic portrayal as the spoiled, larger-than-life millionaire who wants nothing more than to a luxurious lifestyle. Phillip Seymour and Cate Blanchett also make a charming on screen presence, nothing out of the ordinary. In the account of visual imagery, the production design of 1950s Italy is utter eye candy and serves as an absorbing backdrop of the story's historical era. The jazz music, the vintage interior design of the Italian households both serve the film is sweet visual treat.
The Talented Mr. Ripley is a fine piece of work conducted by Anthony Minghella with a performance by Matt Damon that shines with passion, and a beautifully executed story that tackles on the complexities of its startling eponymous character. Minghella's take on this dark, but fascinating story does not come out its flaws nor does it break the boundaries of any cinematic element, it is finely crafted piece of work that can some can somewhat admire.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Talented Mr. Ripley is ominous and foreboding, suspenseful and
exciting, slow and emotional. The movie has as many facets as Mr.
Ripley has talents, and it takes the viewer through an interesting and
The movie is set in the late 1950s and begins just as Tom Ripley--if that is his real name--begins his grand act of deception. The movie is based on a series of novels written by Patricia Highsmith that are centered on Mr. Ripley.
Tom Ripley, who is played by Matt Damon, deceives a man into believing that he knows his son well. That man decides to send Tom to Italy to retrieve his son, Dickie Greenleaf. Dickie, who is played by Jude Law, is privileged and arrogant, but he is also adored by those who know him. His father believes he has been sailing and schmoozing in Italy for far too long. Dickie's father promises to pay Tom's travel expenses and award him $1,000 to return with Dickie. Tom readily accepts the offer.
The first scene that intrigued me was when Tom lands in Italy. He meets a pretty American girl named Meredith, played by Cate Blanchett, and he introduces himself as Dickie Greenleaf. I almost did not catch the lie at first, and I nearly forgot about it when Tom says goodbye to Meredith, returns to being Tom Ripley, and goes to meet up with Dickie. Tom pretends to meet Dickie by chance and tells him they knew each other in college. Dickie is with his girlfriend Marge, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, and, of course, he does not recognize Tom.
Tom builds his talents for deception while making his way into Dickie's life, but he uses the truth of his mission to gain Dickie's trust. They quickly become friends. Everything seems to be going well for Tom, and it is at this point that I began to empathize with him because of his eagerness to participate socially and his obvious fear of loneliness.
As he and Dickie become closer, Tom's attraction for Dickie becomes palpable. At the same time, Dickie takes note of Tom's infatuation and tries to brush him away by spending time with other friends. In a scene that left me shocked and confused, Tom's jealousy and passion overwhelm him while he and Dickie are sailing. They are arguing because Dickie tries to tell Tom he doesn't think that they should be friends anymore, and that Tom should return to America. Tom strikes Dickie with an oar and, after a scuffle, Tom beats Dickie to death. Tom cries as he hugs the bloodied corpse, once again leaving me unsure of Tom's plan--if he even has a plan.
Tom's journey truly begins as he starts to cover his tracks and decides that his only option is to attempt to steal Dickie's life. Tom tells Marge that Dickie is just taking time away. He tells those who know him as Tom that Dickie is away, and he tells others that he is Dickie. He cashes Dickies checks and lives in his home.
The other characters become pieces in Tom's game and he manipulates them to support his web of lies. Tom murders again when Dickie's friend, who has met Tom as Tom, is on the verge of discovering Tom's ruse. Once again, the murder does not seem predetermined, and Tom does it out of necessity because he cannot stand to lose his new lifestyle. Tom's lies and murders begin to spiral out of control as the police become involved. I found myself wondering if Tom would have to kill everyone in Italy that knew Dickie. I also began to empathize with Tom's delusional scheme because he seems to only want attention and affection from others.
Dickie's friends become increasingly worried about his absence, and Dickie's father travels to Italy and hires a private investigator. Just as Tom's evil plan is about to break apart, Tom gets away clean. Tom forges a suicide letter from Dickie, and the police and private investigator come to conclusions that leave Tom innocent.
Marge is the only person who suspects Tom, but she has become emotionally distressed and no one believes her. Dickie's father even leaves Tom some of Dickie's trust fund. Tom murders one last time as the movie ends. A man who had become his lover poses one last threat to his discovery because he still knows him as Tom, and others that know him as Dickie are aboard the same ship. Tom smothers him while crying to himself.
I found this movie to be thrilling, and honestly, confusing. I could watch it again and again and probably absorb some new, interesting aspect each time. Matt Damon gives a great performance that shows range that I have not seen in his later performances. I wish that I had seen this fantastic work of art earlier, and I am eager to read the books it is based on.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is a con-man, who's finagled his way into the
lives of Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), and Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth
Paltrow) who are living in Italy, by convincing Dickie's father (James
Rebhorn), that he can persuade Dickie to come back to the States.
Instead of convincing Dickie to return home, Tom befriends Dickie, and Marge, and begins living with them, on Dickie's Fathers Dime. As time passes, Dickie becomes less and less enamored with Tom, and the two have an argument, which ends with Tom killing Dickie, on a boat, in the middle of the ocean.
Tom covers his tracks as best as he can, and begins posing as Dickie, using his passport, clothes, and financial means to better himself. Dickie's long time friend, Freddie Miles (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who Tom had met while Dickie was still alive, begins to poke around into Dickie's disappearance, but things get too hot for Tom, and he also kills Freddie.
Tom pens a suicide note, after studying Dickie's handwriting for sometime, and addresses it to himself, leaving it in Dickie's apartment, which the police later find, and read. No one is convinced that Dickie killed himself, and his Father even goes so far as to hire a private detective to investigate the matters, but he clears Tom later.
During Dickie's 'disappearance,' Peter Smith-Kingsley (Jack Davenport), Dickie and Marge's friend comes to stay with Marge while this is going on. He's eventually introduced to Tom, and the two hit it off, becoming fast friends, as no one suspects Tom. Eventually, Tom and Peter leave together (this is a few weeks later, after no culprit for Freddie and Dickie's murder has been found), on a boat, where he later kills Peter.
I found this film quite engrossing. It was a bit lengthy, with a 2 Hour- 19 Minute runtime, but it was quite enjoyable, overall. Dark, comedic, and dramatic, everything I look for in a film. Matt Damon really showed me range in this film, which is already nearly 15 years old.
7.7/10 (7.3/10 on IMDb)
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.
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.
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.
Yes The Talented Mr Ripley is slow at times, but to me it is always absorbing and very rarely boring. The scenery is simply dazzling and really quite exotic, and the costumes and cinematography are gorgeous too. The music is superb, as is Anthony Minghella's direction. The story is very compelling with a number of interesting and well-handled scenes, while the script is both intelligent and thoughtful. The acting is excellent, Matt Damon does wonderfully in a difficult and perhaps controversial role, and Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett and Phillip Seymour Hoffmann are equally terrific. Overall, quite an excellent film. 8/10 Bethany Cox
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have watched this film so many times and never ever stop seeing
something new unfolding with each viewing. Everything here is spot on,
the cinematography, the mise en scene, the acting, the story....you get
the gist! If you haven't seen this film before, get on to it. You will
not be disappointed.
I noticed that a writer here asks 'Is Tom Ripley a sympathetic character?' This is an excellent question, because in many ways it points to the ambivalence the audience is positioned to feel concerning not just Tom, but all the upper class American characters. I would argue that this 'sympathy' some of us feel watching Tom is to do with class. Dickie Greenleaf's name says it all. His 'born in the money' privilege and arrogance none the less makes him 'green' (lacking in street smarts, naive) and - at times - extremely unlikeable.
When Tom climbs out of his below ground flat and climbs into the car sent for him, well, he isn't going back without a fight is he? I am not defending murder here. Merely pointing out that the genius of this narrative is just how ambivalent it is - and what a scathing comment on the capitalist system where 'climbing the ladder' (quite literally Tom does this at the beginning) means getting your hands very very dirty indeed.
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