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*** 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.
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.
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.
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