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The Talented Mr. Ripley
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Talented Mr. Ripley More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Intelligent and Well Crafted Mr. Ripley Peters Out in the 2nd Half

Author: Joe Moretti from New York, NY
29 December 1999



Like the recent film "The Limey", "The Talented Mr. Ripley" took a good bit of time to digest and reflect on. Walking out of the theater with my Italian comrade Americus, I said right off the back, "I did not like it". But after a few days of taking it in, my original opinion is half-right. After a fascinating first half, the film loses steam for me until the last ten minutes. Regardless "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is a cerebral psychological tale, well executed and unlike most cookie cutter films cranked out by Hollywood today (with the possible exception of this year). It also claims an unbelievable performance by Jude Law, whose stock should sky rocket after this, and of course the beautiful landscape of my people, Italy. It is a gorgeous picture to the human eye.

"Ripley" is adapted from the novel by Patricia Highsmith, which first received film treatment in the 1960 French-Italian film, "Purple Noon". It is the late 1950's and Tom Ripley (Matt Damon taking a risk unlike his buddy Ben Affleck), is a young man with no clout or fortune. He is asked by shipping magnate Herbert Greenleaf (James Rebhorn) to go to Italy and bring back his son, Dickie (Jude Law), which Tom lies about knowing from Princeton. Once in Italy, Tom starts to soak up the ambiance of the rich and famous and attempts to take on the role of the upper crust. He works his way into the life of Dickie and his fiancee Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow). But Tom's charade is starting to bore Dickie and is being question by those around him, and eventually tragedy strikes Dickie. Tom now take the opportunity to dig in deeper by passing himself off as Dickie to the point where there is no return back to ordinary Tom.

Director Anthony Minghella of the overrated and big yawn "The English Patient" strikes a chord this time around and creates some suspenseful moments and wonderful sexual ambivalence that rings so true in life as we know it, but may not want to admit. Some of his scenes are astonishing including the wonderful scene between Tom and Dickie in the bathroom, while Dickie is bathing. But this film belongs to Jude Law who sets the screen on fire in every scene. You can see his mind working a mile a minute and are never quite sure what he is thinking all the time. It is one of this year's best performances and deserves an Oscar nomination for supporting actor. Unfortunately Law exits the 2nd half of the picture, which then falls entirely on Matt Damon's shoulder. Without the interesting bond between Dickie and Tom, what is left in the second half of this film is a not so interesting murder mystery that only redeems itself in the last few minutes of the reel. Damon captures the shallowness and manipulative side of the character, and the desire to climb the social ladder, but what is missing is the sheer desperation that makes this character so tragic. Some of the other actors here do some very good work including Jack Davenport as Peter who falls for Tom, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Dickie's obnoxious and creepy friend. The female roles are not as fully realized as their male counterparts and Paltrow and Blanchett probably signed on for the scenery. There is really nothing special about their performances. Jude Law is the one that shines here and Damon must be given credit for tackling a very difficult role.

"The Talented Mr. Ripley" is not for your average movie audience who needs to be spoon-feed everything. This is a highly intelligent and visually beautiful film that probably needs more than one viewing to really appreciate. Recommended. × × × out of 5.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Classy film about Class and Desire

10/10
Author: PippinInOz from Perth, Australia
15 January 2010

*** 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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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

a very good thriller

9/10
Author: mrinaldutta90 from India
30 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

the story starts out very simply ..so simple that one may even presume the movie to turn out as a lacklustre and boring movie...but as the plot thickens this movie gets very interesting ..the acting by Matt Damon is more than impressive..this is one movie in which if you get to know the spoilers before seeing ,the whole point of watching the movie would be lost..there are moments in this movie in which you would actually be rooting for Mr. Ripley that he is not found out..Gwyneth Paltrow is awesome and turns out an awe inspiring performance..and the role of Jude Law as a rich and carefree man is also very well played..all in all it is a must watch for all thriller fans.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Review and one question on the final scene

10/10
Author: snowflake9 from United States
4 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*** This comment may contain spoilers *** What an incredible movie! It really makes you feel Ripley's attraction to Greenleaf. Jude Law just oozes sexuality on screen while also showing you Greenleaf's heartless and vain side. We feel the rejection and pain when Greenleaf gets bored with Ripley. But we also feel Greenleaf's fear of how Ripley is getting out of control. I actually felt that the Marge character was boring, though. She seems too much like a pawn to me. She gets patted about by all the characters.

I had one question about the final scene. When Ripley kills his lover the lover says, "You are crushing me!" I can't figure out how this was accomplished. There was no obvious weapon in the room. And I've never heard of someone being crushed to death in hand to hand combat--if he said, "you're choking me!" it would have made more sense.

Or did he mean he was getting a kick to the groin? I am surprised no one else mentioned this...

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A harrowing tale of lies, deceit and deception!

7/10
Author: Sherazade from United States
22 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Matt Damon gives the performance of his dramatic career as a young American man sent to Europe to go and retrieve the son of a Millionaire who has gone to exile himself there. The son is played by Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow plays his girlfriend. While there, the charming Dickie Greenleaf (Law) manages to distract Ripley (Damon) from his task at hand and when Ripley becomes enchanted by the way of life there, he decides to murder Greenleaf and assume his identity. His only problem is trying to keep up with one story and sticking with it, trying to elude Greenleaf's friends and girlfriend who soon begin to smell a dead rat as well as trying to elude the police who are now hot on his trail. Cate Blanchett co-stars as an unfortunate bimbo in this Oscar worthy dramatic thriller.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Talented acting in a somewhat boring film

3/10
Author: jezz223 from Oxford, England
18 December 2004

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.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A sociopath with a conscience

Author: BlancheDeLaForce
16 March 2002

*** 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...

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Two and a half hours or nine and a half weeks?

Author: chris.hale from High Peak, England
19 September 2000

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.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Did we see the same movie??

3/10
Author: Stu-42 (stu42@cox.net) from Las Vegas
16 August 2000

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!!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly intense and enthralling thriller; RIPLEY is satisfying!

9/10
Author: Ian Harrison from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
30 July 2000

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 hated films for which much praise was received. However, something compelled me to 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 artsy-type thespians like Kristin Scott Thomas and Juliette Binoche. The moment I popped the DVD in and viewed this picture, I was hooked and enthralled. "The Talented Mr. Riply" uses just the right amount of artistry and goes thick on 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

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