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I'll admit that I rented "The Talented Mr. Ripley" without the slightest
clue about what the story entailed. However, this caused no problem as I
soon became involved in the twisted and rather bizarre plot; I was
immediately interested in the movie as it was unique and unusual right
Matt Damon portrays the mysterious Mr. Ripley, who, more or less, remains a mystery throughout the film. I was intrigued at how, when you first see him on screen, you are given the impression that he is nothing more than a shy, innocent, and intellectual young man who pretty much keeps to himself. However, this image is only visable for the first five minutes or so, and is virtually shattered once he accepts the offer to go to Italy in search of Mr. Greenleaf's son, Dickie. I was fascinated at how rapidly his personality altered, and suddenly I understood that he was rather odd, as he deceived Mr. Greenleaf in the first place by wearing a Princeton jacket and pretending that he knew Dickie. Now, I haven't explained this entirely, as those of you who have seen this film know, as I am not writing this to create a summary of the plot, but rather to give my comments. Basically, Mr. Greenleaf saw Ripley playing the piano at a wedding wearing a Princeton jacket, and since his son also went to Princeton, he asks Ripley if, by any chance, he knew Dickie. Of course, since Ripley never went to Princeton in the first place, he couldn't possibly have known Dickie. Despite this fact, however, Ripley says that he did know him, and that they were friends. As soon as he says this, he manages to get himself in a deep hole of trouble as Mr. Greenleaf asks him to go to Italy to try and retrieve his son, as he couldn't do it himself due to that fact that Dickie wouldn't listen to his father following a serries of arguments.
I thought that the acting was brilliant, especially that of Jude Law (Dickie) and Matt Damon. I was on the edge of my seat throughout most of the film, and I felt that all the characters were believable in their own ways. I believe this to be a splendidly clever story, which is well written and directed. I thought that the music playing during most of the film was excellent as it matched the strange, eerie atmosphere of the story beautifully.
I would like to conclude this review by saying that this is a very good movie with an unusually unpredictable ending; it's nice to see a movie that doesn't finish perfectly for a change.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It can definitely be considered an "intelligent" thriller. And I think that Matt Damon made a good choice choosing this role. He gets to explore the darker side of a character, a change for him, and he does so very well! On the outside he appears so wholesome and harmless but if you watch his eyes, they can give you a chill. And I must say that Jude Law, an actor I had not seen much of before I saw this film, also gave a great performance. He has great charm and you can almost understand why "Mr. Ripley" would go to such great lengths to possess his life. Damon did a good job of conveying how desperate he was to be someone with a life worth coveting. Don't be put off by how long it is, it is worth the watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are a lot of reasons to see THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY. It is not your
typical, run of the mill Hollywood thriller. In fact, it is refreshingly
chilling and Matt Damon turns in what is by far his best acting job to date.
He is able to shed the "Will Hunting" image here with a juicy role. It is
a personality twisting story unlike, say, SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, which was
highly conventional and more of a slasher picture. I would equate it more
with Ingmar Bergman's PERSONA. The audience is never totally clear as to
why "Tom Ripley" wants to consume another personality which is all the more
Anthony Minghella, director of ENGLISH PATIENT, sets the stage in late 1950's Italy, an exotic locale which adds to the suspense. As the film progresses and it becomes more apparent there is something deeply wrong with Damon, you almost begin to root for him to get away with his malicious acts. He is so effective as the quietly psychotic Ripley because his actions do not seem planned. He just kind of takes what is not his without reason.
The beauty of Rome, Venice, and Gwyneth Paltrow tends to hide the inner turmoil going on with Damon's character and Jude Law is oblivious to it most of the time. The madness builds slowly and Law, as the target of Damon's consuming desire, realizes it too late. Law has the looks and mannerisms of a 50's matinee idol which fits perfectly within the context of the film.
Some people have said THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY is like a Hitchcock film for the 90's. I would have to agree. Damon's ability to portray a fully realized, human leach is amazing at times and the fact that I actually had some sympathy for him proves it. There are scenes of utter shock and dismay, but it is the drowning build to the inevitable murder and mayhem that grabs you.
I'd have to say The_Void really sums up on how amazing this film is and
because I find his library of reviews so helpful, I will link them now:
review should definitely take precedence over all other Reviews for
this film (and probably a lot more). I write this review for the chance
that if someone liked one of my opinions, they'd come and see what I
thought of this masterpiece.
I can't remember that last time I felt my heart jerked like this in some time. Well that is a lie, I do remember. The last time would have had to of been when I saw: Match Point. So let's get the 'if you liked/hated' bust out of the way and say if you liked Woody Allen's Match Point, I can't see why you wouldn't ultimately like this. Not that they're AT ALL the same, nor do I have some sort of expertise on the matter. I just know the rare feeling Match Point gave me is the same this movie gave me. It sets so many moods and it does it with such finesse you find yourself begging for more and more in a devilish fashion you'll catch yourself many times wondering why you're rooting for Mr. Ripley.
The movie is only 2 hours and 20 minutes or there abouts. But it feels like a lifetime. Not the sort of lifetime when you're waiting in the DMV. The sort of life time where you experience, learn, and think about through your life. Not to say this film is a learning experience. But it IS an experience and it will fill a hole in your film-going life for that thick-plot, character ran, and dark trenching void you may have. I can't think of a film that quite compares in sequence of events, twists, character development, character inclusion quite like this.
Every character is important, every event is important, and everything you think is pretty null and void. Or possibly that is just me.
It should be heavily noted that this film STARTS SLOW, as many have said and probably judged it that way. I'd say it picks up speed around the 15-20 minute mark and it roller coasters from there. And let me tell you, when it accelerates, it seriously doesn't know how to stop and personally, I never wanted it to stop. This is the sort of film where not even the most annoying person can scream at the film, because you're too tight lipped about everything going on and you'll most likely find yourself wanting Ripley to keep going. And when I say Ripley, I really mean the movie.
And the movie doesn't stop, it keeps going. Even after it's over, you will be doing a mental tango of all the information you have received and trying to sort out all the pieces. And trust me, there are pieces. If you go to watch this film to just watch a 90's flick, you're doing it wrong. You will probably find the movie a flop of just dark moments led by lies and deceit. (Which it really is). But to those who went to watch this film because we wanted to know why there was so much mixed hype about this 1999 film, we should have all noticed there were the smallest bits of puzzle pieces and the biggest amounts of twists that really made this film what it is.
I don't even like Matt Damon, I personally have a biased grudged towards the guy and his movies. But I'd have to say, it's tough to choose between his performances here and Good Will Hunting. He, along with the entire cast will tug at heart strings you never thought you had. There are the strings for romance, thrillers, and horror. These strings are the one's collecting dust and sometimes never see the light of day for a life time. It's rare to come across a film that seems to have everything and goes about it like it's nothing, like it doesn't even seem to care if you're watching or not, because it all is going to happen with or without you. It's truly it's own living, breathing, and dark entity.
Watch this film if you want a film that will bake in your brain for the days, weeks, maybe months to come. It's not to late to bring this movie back up into lunch-time conversation in the new century.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Sound formats: Dolby Digital / DTS
Whilst in Italy, a young American chancer (Matt Damon) assumes the identity of a wealthy playboy (Jude Law) with whom he's become emotionally obsessed, leading to murder and betrayal on a grand scale.
Elegant, literary thriller based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith (the subject of an earlier adaptation, PLEIN SOLEIL, in 1960), in which sociopathic anti-hero Tom Ripley (Damon) cheats, steals and murders his way to a position of huge good fortune, leaving a trail of devastation in his wake. Set against the backdrop of tourist Italy - encompassing Rome and Venice and all points in between - Anthony Minghella's film is a compelling treat from start to finish, layering detail upon detail as Damon's friendship with Law blossoms and sours, leading to an inevitable plot twist which introduces a whole new set of complications for the central characters, rendering the audience complicit in Ripley's escalating crime wave.
Damon may seem a little too young and unworldly for such a complex character, but he judges the role with great sensitivity, especially in those scenes where (overtly or otherwise) he indicates a sexual attraction to Law which goes unreciprocated (or does it?), until the characters are driven apart by jealousy, bitterness and - ultimately - violence. His fantasies shattered by harsh reality, Damon finds solace in the arms of a mutual acquaintance (Jack Davenport), the only person capable of taking Law's place in Damon's affections, only for their chance of happiness to be snatched away by a cruel trick of fate. Terrific, Oscar-caliber support by Gwyneth Paltrow and Philip Seymour Hoffman (as Law's fiancée and best friend, respectively); beautiful, classy production values throughout. Followed by RIPLEY'S GAME (2002).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Anthony Minghella's adaptation of 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' possesses
more depth and poses more questions than first viewings would indicate.
At first viewing I was baffled by what motivated these people aside
from simple selfishness on the part of the rich kids and class envy on
the part of Tom Ripley. Since that first time I have thought about the
various clues scattered along the way that Minghella throws out to help
The most important scene in this film, I think, is when Tom (Matt Damon) and Meredith (Cate Blanchett) attend the opera in Rome. On stage is the duel scene from Tchaikovsky's 'Eugene Onegin'. Lenski, Onegin's closest friend, has offended Onegin who has challenged him to a duel. Lenski, the simple musician, sings the last bit of his aria and then the two men do their paces and Onegin shoots Lenski dead.
The key to Tom Ripley's enigmatic character and motivations in relation to the opera is; in the 19th century literature, in this case Pushkin, Onegin represented a type of man that was becoming extinct for various reasons, mostly cultural as a result of political disasters, the usual story. Onegin is what the Russians called a "lishny chelovek" or "superfluous man." A man with sensitivity and intelligence but doomed to have these qualities corrupted for want of a proper outlet in the society of his time. That is Tom Ripley.
The interesting thing is, Tom Ripley is also Lenski, the simple musician, the lover, the sentimentalist. So, the operatic scene in this film symbolizes the self-immolation of Tom Ripley in the form of Eugene Onegin, the superfluous man, killing Lenski, the simple and gifted musician. This suicide explains a lot in the context of what ultimately happens in this film. It explains why Ripley does what he does on a fundamental level.
Ripley has been left with no place to stand by the society of the plutocracy whose children, represented by Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), Marge, his fiancé (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Meredith the society girl from New York (Blanchett). All action stems from this fundamental twist in Ripley's psyche.
The first time I saw this movie I was flummoxed, but now, if I am right about the scene at the opera house, I think I understand what makes these characters tick, which makes the film all that more interesting.
There is some wonderful acting here too. Jude Law got all of the attention at the time of the release, and he is very good, but it is Matt Damon's astonishing performance as the geeky, pathetic Ripley that boggles the mind. Cate Blanchett turns what could have been a nothing, stereotyped part into a tour-de-force of subtle comedy and pathos, reminding me more than once of "Little" Edie Beale (Grey Gardens), the poor little rich girl with a heart of gold who can't find love because of the limitations placed upon her by the society in which she grew up. An intelligent young woman raised to be an empty-headed breeder.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is wonderfully repulsive as Dickie's old chum from Princeton, with his beady-eyed, nastiness towards the "leech" Ripley. Gwyneth Paltrow is very good as the author who loves Dickie and is the only one who cottons on to what has happened to him but no one believes her.
There is also sly satire at work here as well. Jude Law's character "Dickie" is a great fan of Charlie Bird.... "Dickie Bird" a Gilbert and Sullivan reference betokening the empty-headed fool dancing towards his doom to the tootling of some vapid jingle, "Poor little Dickie Bird....tit-willow tit-willow" etc.
Dickie is out of his depth when he encounters the deeply twisted Tom Ripley who has set out to destroy his own identity, annihilate his personality and will not hesitate to eliminate all who would stand in his way. In the end he takes his revenge before meeting his own doom by killing love.
This is a tragic film, beautifully done on all counts and though it seems to drag at times in the first half and has a deux ex machina ending to solve the complicated dilemma of closing the trap around Ripley, it is a first rate suspenser. Minghella does not have the Hitchcock touch but he's brought his own brand of haunting creepiness into this very fine film.
Technical aspects are outstanding, The music by Gabriel Yared is beautiful and the script one of the better ones I've encountered in a long time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a really terrific thriller. There is a lot going on, and you
need to bring your attention span, but the reward will be great if you
do. Matt Damon plays Tom Ripley. Ripley is an intentionally ambiguous
character who uses his many "talents" to dig himself into deeper and
deeper trouble as he attempts to infiltrate high society. Damon really
began to distance himself from boyhood chum Ben Affleck with this role
originally intended for Tom Cruise.
It all starts out on a rooftop in New York City. Ripley is playing the piano for some type of a cocktail party and he happens to be wearing a borrowed Princeton jacket. A wealthy gentlemen at the party notices this, and quickly recruits Ripley to track his spoiled brat son down over in Italy. His son also attended Princeton, and Ripley claims to have known him there. Ripley accepts this offer since it pays pretty well, allows him to travel, and gives him the chance to get a foot in the door with the upper class. Ripley locates the spoiled son named Dickie who is living with his girlfriend. Jude Law (American accent and all) plays Dicke, and Gwyneth Paltrow is the girlfriend. Ripley quickly befriends the couple and admits why he's there. Rather than try to convince Dickie to return to America with him, he simply joins him in run of debauchery. The good vibes between these characters don't last long, however. Ripley develops a mad obsession about Dickie that can really only lead to the kind of violent confrontation we see later on a tiny motorboat. Ripley then becomes Dickie. He has learned how to forge his signature, his mannerisms, and he is quickly developing a taste for the finer things in life.
Or course there are complications when one assumes another person's identity. Ripley keeps running into people Dickie knew well, and he has to come up with some amazing lies and schemes to keep them believing the real Dickie is still alive. If someone gets too close, Ripley has to either run away or dispose of whomever might find out his secrets. As a viewer, you might often find yourself trying to come up with a good story or lie before Ripley can to see if you're as cunning as he apparently is. The story works itself out intelligently, and by doubling back on some of the tiniest details from earlier scenes, but somehow it all works brilliantly. What kind of man is Tom Ripley? Really, he is whatever he needs to be in order to keep going. Is he intelligent? Hell yes. Is he dangerous? Hell yes. Is he gay? If he needs to be. He has a chance to bed Cate Blanchette, but seems unable to complete the deal. Or maybe he just doesn't have time. It's difficult to say.
The cast is a wonderful ensemble of some of the finest actors working today. Phillip Seymour Hoffman really stands out in a sleazy supporting role. Law is superb. Blanchette is not in enough scenes. Paltrow is good, but Damon puts them all to shame. Anthony Minghella's direction hits all the right notes. Italy looks as beautiful as you could ask it to. It's really hard to find a flaw in this one. 10 of 10 stars.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Some of the reviews written here are so poetic and eloquently defining,
there is not much left to write - except to repudiate those snide
comments some people posted. They were not able to grasp the
many-layered complexities of "The Talented Mr. Ripley" - I've watched
it at least six times and still feel uncertain of my opinions, that
I've misunderstood some of it. Although it was released in 1999, it is
definitely like one of the great movies that were made in the '60s-'70s
era. Nothing was left-out to make it into the gripping, totally
convincing film it is. The cinematography was stunning, as was the
lighting. Each character was costumed as they should have been for
every scene. I loved the way each scene melted into the next, making a
complete whole. Anthony Mingella knew exactly what he wanted and got it
with the cooperation of every actor/actress, right down to the extras
and bit-players. Every character was completely developed. Frankly, I
can't imagine anyone else playing the roles as they were presented, and
most of them I was not familiar with. I saw this film before "Good Will
Hunting" (liked it, too), and see the brilliance of Matt Damon's
multi-faceted acting. I also enjoyed both of "the Bourne" movies,
hoping he isn't stuck in that kind of role forever. I sincerely hope
there are many writers busy scripting stories for him, although I think
"Ocean's Eleven" was a waste for him.
I'm sure Minghella realized he almost ruined this sumptuous film by considering Tom Cruise as Ripley - Yuck !! Gwenyth Paltrow was perfect for her role (see "Great Expectations"), too, her facial expressions and tone of voice right on pitch for every emotion. Cate Blanchett is another jewel in this crown, proving there IS great talent there - her timing was sublime with just the right touch of wanting to believe Ripley's saga, but just enough disbelief to make it convincing. One is certain, had the film continued, she would have seen the entire misery. Phillip S. Hoffman was truly a revelation; my first opinion that he was a homophobe - making several snide remarks to Ripley - but, the scene at the piano when he is looking for "Rickie", with his wrist so risquely bent, gives an entirely different characteristic to his role. (See "Red Dragon"). I'm not familiar with Jack Davenport, but what a revealing, under-played gay-man he delivered; he may have been the only one to understand Ripley's torment, much to his undoing. Alessandro Fabrizi as the detective who confronts Ripley in Venice was just as intense as he should have been (see "Hannibal"). What more to say about the skill from all of the other actors/actresses? - applause, please.
As for Jude Law, he should have been that physically beautiful in "Midngiht in the Garden of Good and Evil", in which he played an openly-sinister gay hustler. His facial expression to the perception of Ripley's infatuation for him during the bathtub "chess-game" was transparent. I agree he should have been nominated for best supporting-actor....actually everyone in the film should have won one. This movie is flawless - those people who panned it because of the gay theme don't know too much about anyone other than themselves. It is tragic they don't realize there are so many tortured people like Ripley - perhaps minus the violence - because they have no perception of the human psyche.
No one mentioned Ripley's agony of leaving his beautiful piano behind - pianos were vital to three scenes, opening the movie with that wonderful theme. Some reviewers caught the many personalities Ripley suffered through-out his entire life, and I agree his New York persona should have been expanded - another ten minutes added to the film would matter not, entrancing as it is.
The ending of the movie leaves me completely drained, because it is obvious Ripley would have to continue his tragic behavior.....he didn't have to worry about money anymore, although he couldn't live "Rickie's" life, although IT too was deeply-flawed psychosomatic. Matt Damon's portrayal was magnificent; I can't think of one other actor through the decades I've been watching movies who could bring more to this role.....not one.
AS a performer, I can also easily adjust to radical changes in my life, very similar to Ripley - yet, I can hardly kill a fly. My age has shown me that I am acting from one scene to the next, with no damage to psyche nor hurting another being. There are millions just like us - they just don't realize it. It's not bad - each day is different, adding its own magic to a very good life. People who really study this movie will recognize a little of themselves in it -
"The Talented Mr. Ripley" should be at the top of the list for IMDb's best movies - I'm waiting for another.....
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
POSSIBLE SPOILERS: Simply put... If you enjoyed the book or its sequels, avoid this movie at all costs. The story is basically the same, but Minghella changed the most important details and to its detriment. In the book, Ripley is a con man and sociopath whose jealousy of Dickie Greenleaf's life leads him to murder him and take on his identity. In the movie, Ripley is a poor boy who lusts after Dickie, accidentally causes his death, and happens to take on his identity. To change the motivation for the murder and to change the murder from premeditative to accidental is to completely change the nature of the title character, and in the process sever the movie's most basic and essential connection to the book upon which it is based. If Minghella disliked the book so much, he shouldn't have taken on the project in the first place. At the very least he should have changed the title and character names as was the case with "Simon Birch" which was very loosely adapted from the novel A Prayer For Owen Meany. Visually the film is beautiful. Many of the performances are good to great. Jude Law and Philip Seymour Hoffman for example are perfectly cast. Matt Damon is not. He tries, but ultimately fails. Damon is a decent enough actor with some potential, but he is way out of his depth here. The character is more complex than he is capable of playing. This wouldn't be such a problem if he weren't playing the title character. So if you like the book, avoid this faux adaptation and see "Purple Noon" instead.
I had a much harder time watching "The Talented Mr. Ripley" compared to
the average person. This is because I have already seen the original
version, "Purple Noon" (1960 with Alain Delon). So all along, I knew
where the film was going and how it would end. So, there was no
suspense for me and I kept comparing the new film with an older film
that I adored--making my enjoyment a bit muted for this Matt Damon
Normally, I might talk about the plot or how the two versions are different. However, this film is clearly a thriller with many exciting twists--so if I talk about it, I might give away what will happen. Suffice to say, in the Matt Damon version, what ultimately happens seems less planned and much more spontaneous--and certainly less evil. Both are very good films, however, well made and with lovely locale shooting and terrific acting. And, since they put a different spin on the plot, it would make for a great double-feature to watch them both. If asked to choose which one I'd like, I preferred the original film--but both are nice.
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