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|Index||681 reviews in total|
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...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's too bad Patricia Highsmith will never be able to see Minghella's
masterful adaptation of her novel. The Talented Mr. Ripley is easily
Minghella's best film (yes, it's better than The English Patient) but
sadly, has been under-appreciated for a long time. I hope the film will
go into film history as a one of a kind psychological thriller, that's
so haunting that it leaves a deep impression on all who watch it with
an open mind.
Besides the great screenplay, which I actually like better than the story in the novel, the film offers a great acting ensemble. You can see the actors lifting each other's performance, they really try to exceed each other. Although not every performance is Oscar-worthy, there isn't one member of the cast who delivers a mediocre one. I was especially surprised by Kate Blanchett's performance, who I honestly never considered to be a good actress even though the critics claim otherwise. She does however deliver a great performance in TTMR, she's more than excellent. The supporting cast does a great job as well: Gwyneth Paltrow is great as Marge Sherwood (though a little miscast) and Phillip Seymour Hoffman is unbelievably annoying as Freddie ( which is a good thing). Jack Davenport delivers a solid serene performance as Peter-Smith Kingsley. He convinces his audience, which is the most important thing. The role doesn't offer a whole lot to work with but he does a good job. Now, as good as the supporting cast was, none of them can hold a candle against the two male leads: Matt Damon simply becomes Tom Ripley and Jude Law is incredible in the role that seems to be made for him ( or is that merely Mr. Law's achievement that makes us perceive it like that?). Though Jude Law was the only actor who was nominated for an Academy Award, I feel Matt Damon really was the one who deserved the Oscar. It's still his best role to date and I don't think he'll ever be able to top it. His performance, subtle when needed and intense when needed, is really memorable. It's hard to describe just why I was so impressed with him.
Good casting and acting alone doesn't make a masterpiece. Everything has to fit together perfectly. I'm happy to say that it actually does. The score is still my favorite to date. Even though I'm not a big jazz fan, I love it to death. The Academy Award nomination is 100% justified (of course Jared should have gotten it but I'm already glad he's at least been nominated). Especially the opening song is hauntingly beautiful. The locations chosen are gorgeous and go together great with the music. Minghella's shows us the Italy of our dreams, the picturesque village that wins everyone's heart, the Rome that speaks to our imagination...
What really adds something to the movie is the perfect ending. I can't bear to imagine it would end any other way...it fits just right. Tragic, haunting, deeply shocking, deliciously evil,...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
To date this film has proved Matt Damon's acting ability, the film
would not have been what it is without his involvement. It proves that
not only can he play a innocent light hearted character, but within a
second he can pull a complete 180 and portray a dark unemotional
character. Jude Law also played his role well as the spoilt playboy
that he is with an acting performance that I feel has been his best so
far. The involvement of Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett's characters
brought more emotion to the film as the plot thickens, which gave the
film a little more edge. Philip Seymour Hoffman does well at also
playing the cocky rich boy character, which, lets face it, is pulled
off best by him.
What also made the film is the overall cinematography as the locations that most of the scenes were shot were absolutely breathtaking. Such as Rome and Venice.
The overall plot was outstanding with it becoming more and more darker as the film progresses. Scenes that particularly deserve credit are the suicide scene of the Italian girl, the murder of Dicky Greenleaf, the Opera and the meeting at the Roman café. These scenes emphasise Anthony Minghella's directing capabilities.
Overall, Anthony Minghella's work on this film deserves praise.
Just like someone else commented, I found myself looking for movies to watch and selected this movie out of simple curiosity. As a matter of fact I had decided to return it unwatched but after checking a few reviews I changed my mind and decided to give it a try. Boy was I in for a big surprise! I will not tire you with comments about the characters or the plot but I will say this: Near the end I couldn't tear my eyes away and at the same had the strongest urge to hit the stop button so I wouldn't watch it anymore. It was so twisted I would sometimes feel empathy for Matt Damon's character and sometimes disgust at myself for feeling sorry for him.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw the Alain Delon film a year or two before the Damon film came out
in 1999. To me at the time, a young film addict, it was an amazing
film. My initial thought after it finished was that if i ever could
make a film i would remake this one. When i was sitting at a bus stop
in Perth faced to face with a poster of Damon under the title 'The
Talented Mr Ripley' i was unimpressed. I missed my chance i felt and i
decided not to pay any attention to the film, and not to see it. Years
later when i was with Shazrina my closest friend i found out she had a
Jude Law obsession, an actor who i had not really watched much. She
referred to him in Ripley as being a Bronzed God. At this point i had
grown an affinity for Damon as well, after re-watching Good will
Hunting, Oceans etc.. so i decided to bite the bullet and watch The
Talented Mr Ripley. The first thing i liked was the music, the
switching back and forth from the jazz and whimsical score to the
sadder notes, the darker shadows of the score. I didn't watch the film
expecting to see a remake of the Delon film, i knew that this film
played Tom as gay unlike the Delon film so i expected it to follow a
different set of triggers. I loved the colors in the film... it is a
beautifully filmed picture, just like the Delon film, but where Delon
is always alone and always expects to be alone Damon try's to be a part
of something but fails. To me both movies tell only half of the
motivation of Tom Ripley as told in the Highsmith novel. I really enjoy
re-watching The Talented Mr Ripley because of its beautiful locations,
grand music and well acted characters (but i still fell like an
observer unlike the Delon film where while watching you almost become
Delon). But this movie was made to be observed, certainly the killing
of Dickie and the tension of the continuous escapes by Tom are
captivating and well done, but i watch it every time for its beauty.
(If it wasn't made meant to be watched for its beauty then why cast
Jude Law, huh Shaz?) It's strange to find a murder film that you can
relax to. The beauty does tend to over run the film at times. Having
said that, one of the best scenes in the film is where the two main
characters are in the forefront- when Tom kills Dickie. The camera is a
close up shot and the beautiful background is actually pushed to the
back.. here we finally see what Dickie feels about Tom and we see what
type of a person Tom really is.. its important that we see nothing but
the characters and the use of eliminating the beautiful background is
done well, if only for a moment.
The thing i like about the Ripley story is that despite how beautiful everything looks non of the characters are perfect... Marge is too needy, Dickie is too selfish and Tom is homicidal. There is so much more to say about this and the Delon film, they are both great films but they speak differently, arouse different feelings and reactions. To me neither are exactly like the book so the prospect of making the film again is a possibility for this once upon a time film addict.
(though the film means more to me for different reasons..), if you want to watch a stunningly beautiful film with relaxing music and interesting characters, a bit of tension thrown into the mix and you don't want it to be a foreign film or a merchant ivory production than this is your film.
To make the film more enjoyable try speaking with Jude Laws fake American Accent for the rest of the day, its fun, try it!
'Marge, Marge! You've got to hear this!'
Napoli, Roma, San Remo, Venezia: need I say more! I like Italy and I like movies about Italy... This movie is great. It has suspense, beautiful pictures of Italy and a great cast! I have seen this movie about 10 times now and still love it! Matt, Jude and Gwyneth are great. This should have been an Oscar magnet. I don't know why it wasn't noticed. Maybe because Tom and Peter are gay? What I find striking is that the movie is even better than the book! Hire, buy and see this movie, you won't regret it! Also watch out for the other Ripley movie (Game) with John Malokovich. It has the same suspense and good (but different) cast!
Tom Ripley is a piano tuner and toilet attendant who borrows a
Princeton blazer to play at a wedding and finds himself assuming the
role of an old friend of the Greenleafs' son. Working the way into
their confidence, Tom is offered payment to go to Italy and bring the
son (Dickie) back home to the US. Arriving in Italy, Tom continues the
performance and tricks his way into the friendship of Dickie and his
girlfriend Marge. However, as he spends more time with Dickie he starts
to fall in love with him and envy what he has, leading him to begin to
play Dickie as a role as well.
It has been years since the critical loving over this film occurred and the awards were doled out but yet I had not seen it yet. I watched it last year until the video cut out after an hour so this time I just made sure and watch it as it was on TV. The plot sounds quite simple and it made me wonder how it would fill the running time but I was happy to see it did it by being patient and building the characters while also having enough going on to keep audience attention. The story is, as the title says, about Tom Ripley and it uses the basic tale to run threads about envy, social climbing, sexual desire, personality etc all through the film, making each one of them as interesting as the actual narrative itself. This collection of ideas and thought-provoking material works very well and the film lingers as a result of them. The direction is simple but classy, with some very effective touches to some shots that in themselves add meaning to what we are seeing.
Matching this, the cast are all very good in their roles but the film belongs to Matt Damon. He is faithful to the script by showing the complexity of his character and also the emotions he feels are convincing throughout. He is personable as well as needy, deceptive as he is revealing it is a very good performance. Law is also as good and it is a shame that some people who hate him in this do so because of the homosexual element to his performance for me I thought he added the sexual tension between him and Damon really well. Damon is the main star but the support cast is also deep in quality with Paltrow, Blanchett, Hoffman, Hall and even Coupling's Davenport giving good performances.
Overall this is a great film but not because the story is great because, during the film, the main story is simple and some viewers may be bored by it. However what kept me interested were the many threads and ideas running within it, all of them making me think and adding layers to the characters. These layers are seized upon by the actors, in particular Matt Damon, an actor I'm not overly fond of but has great range nonetheless. All these are pulled together by good direction and delivered in a classy product that, like Tom, is much more than it seems on the surface.
This movie is a brilliant portrayal of a troubled mind. The movie never
dwells on how and why Tom Ripley became the impersonator that he was. But it
is unnecessary in this movie. Sadly because he could not share his secrets
to anyone, he lived a lonely life. But Tom Ripley was a man with love and
insecurities. His insecurities made him utterly selfish to the point of
being inhumane, recluse and shy, but he had rather strong feelings. So many
times he came close to confessing to Peter and even Marge. He even
considered confessing to Inspector Roverini and Meredith. But he couldn't.
There were so many times he thought he was totally cornered and that he had
no way out. But he was not weak enough to commit suicide. His instincts of
self-preservation (however crude they may have been) pushed him into
committing murders so that he could move on. He was a doomed character
unless he confessed to someone and let them take over his life and restore
him. But he never could do it till the time shown in the end of the movie.
That is why he had to push away all the people that he loved and that loved
him (or hated him). And the only way he knew to push them away was by
murdering them. And the only way he survived all this (or a person like him
can survive all this) was through his intelligence and his three
Now onto the review of the movie. Matt Damon acted his very best. It is not easy for the viewer to understand and appreciate the character that Minghella wanted Damon to portray. I thought Damon did a superb job. Often times, he had to show Ripley's mind simply through his mannerisms. I thought he portrayed the conflict in the character very well. The disarming innocence and simplicity to the point of humility, the unassuming confidence about his talents, the discomfort of not fitting in, the charming or nerdy smile (as appropriate) and a seeming ignorance of his attractive traits were all superbly portrayed by him. I believe he should have definitely garnered much more recognition for the superlative performance. Jude Law and Jack Davenport were amazing in their roles as well. The character of Dickie Greenleaf is as complicated as that of Tom Ripley, except that they have been brought up in the opposite ends of the spectrum and their lifestyles show ample proofs for that. They both seek not too dissimilar ends, though they seek it through totally different means. The difference in their positions in the society is also shown by the denial-mode that Greenleaf is in, as opposed to a certain degree of understanding and acceptance of his personality by Ripley. This does not mean Greenleaf is dumb, as is evidenced in his last scenes before being murdered by Ripley. I definitely think Jude Law gave another superlative performance in the movie. Cate Blanchett was suitably artificial, while Gwyneth Paltrow was brilliant in flashes. My jury is still out on Paltrow's abilities. Philip Seymour Hoffmann was brilliant as well. He and Damon clearly depicted the uncomfortable understanding and anger that was always there between their characters in the undercurrent. Stefania Rocca was good in the very few scenes she was in.
Much has been said about the cinematography of the movie and I completely agree with the praise. The script, editing and direction were first rate. That is ultimately why the film succeeded totally in its objectives. Minghella should have garnered a directorial nomination as well.
I read Patricia Highsmith's novel before I watched the film (in fact I was
just in time!), not because `the book is always better than the movie' (I
not in favour of such generalisations), but because I felt obliged to be
chronologically correct in following the artistic adaptation. Trying it
other way around can only make sense if you can be objective enough or
Artistic genius is what I'd call Anthony Minghella, who adapted and directed for the screen the latest masterpiece The Talented Mr Ripley. This 1955 novel is Highsmith's first of a number of Ripley stories. Needless to say, after the success of this screen adaptation, the others will follow, however with a different cast and crew and hence, in my opinion, with doubtful success to come. The Talented Mr Ripley is a novel dipped in dense psychology and intriguing human interaction. It is the journey of the aspiring young man Thomas Ripley around Italy and his deceitful engagements brought about by the ---ironically- innocent desire of happiness. The reader is immersed in the raw psychological reality that is sometimes frightfully familiar to all. Admiration, desire, jealousy, hatred, lies. the never-ending change of environment and circumstances, and yet the ever-stable personal fixations, traumas and needs. Thomas Ripley is not to be despised. And although he surely does not provide the example to follow, he is occasionally to be identified with.
How masterfully Minghella has simplified the story without losing any density, and in fact making the whole picture better defined than in the book, should be a screenplay adaptation teaching example. A novelist has the enormous advantage of 'psychographic' elaboration and exploration, and Highsmith most certainly excelled in delivering Tom's complex portrait. But then Minghella took advantage of film imagery and dialogue and never lost the complexity and tension of any character, even with economised plot events, which are, in fact, appreciated. Additions and changes such as the impersonation of Herbert Greenleaf, the saxophone instead of painting, the characters of Meredith and Peter, and many more, were really assets to the story on screen. Now, on the slightly negative side, the film suffers the same thing that the book does (unavoidably). That is how the audience (or reader) excitement declines in the second half. Police interrogation and `factual proceedings' in the second half replace a lot of captivating character interaction in a most beautiful environment in the first half. And I did prefer the book's ending. It leaves you with enough question marks for the evening (in cases like myself for the week) but not too many on the other hand, like the film does.
The subtlety of the homosexuality element in both film and book is skilfully real and it is only optional whether that is an issue taking priority in the whole picture or not. Finally what I found very interesting, but not necessarily agreeable, was the transformation of the Tom-Marge relationship. The loathing-turned-into-sympathy of the book is entirely reversed in the film. I found the book's version more enjoyable. As for the Marge-Dickie relationship, the book's rather platonic version is more interesting and uniquely real, but I guess the constraints of cinema in terms of audience attraction and box-office performance are too risky to ignore.
The verdict: A very good book and a brilliant adaptation. Matt Damon's weak, innocent and perplexed Ripley is a thriving achievement, Jude Law shines in a most convincing manner, Gwyneth Paltrow always looks fabulous as the tortured victim and Cate Blanchett is simply a delight to watch in all respects. Music and cinematography are beautiful. There is simply no flaw in the cast or production team of The Talented Mr Ripley.
This is an odd film. The first hour sets up Matt Damon's character,
"Tom Ripley," to do what he eventually does, kill someone and then
imitate the rich kid off in Europe. However, to be fair, his murder of
friend "Dickie Greenleaf" (Jude Law) is almost made to look like
self-defense. It's an odd scene in this odd movie. As the story
unfolds, however, "Ripley" is shown to be a sick killer, hardly some
innocent man caught in some self-defense predicament.
The second half of the film deals with Damon's character trying to get away with his scheme while other people slowly start to question who he is and what he's doing. Some people trust him; some don't. A few twists make the story even more interesting. The only facet that didn't appeal to me were the overt homosexual overtones in this film which were prevalent throughout Damon's relationships with a couple of men, although nothing sexually was ever done and even though these guys also had girlfriends. Speaking of the latter, Gwyneth Paltrow is good in here as "Marge Sherwood," someone who is ahead of the pack when it comes to uncovering the truth. Cate Blanchett is good, too, as usual, but her role was much smaller and one I'm not sure was all about.
Overall, this is intriguing drama-crime story with a lot of suspense and done so without a lot of violence. All the characters in this movie grab your attention. Combine that with good European scenery and involving storyline and you have a movie worth investigating.
I read where this film also goes under the title, "The Strange Mr. Ripley."
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