Tom Ripley - cool, urbane, wealthy, and murderous - lives in a villa in the Veneto with Luisa, his harpsichord-playing girlfriend. A former business associate from Berlin's underworld pays a call asking Ripley's help in killing a rival. Ripley - ever a student of human nature - initiates a game to turn a mild and innocent local picture framer into a hit man. The artisan, Jonathan Trevanny, who's dying of cancer, has a wife, young son, and little to leave them. If Ripley draws Jonathan into the game, can Ripley maintain control? Does it stop at one killing? What if Ripley develops a conscience? Luisa prepares for her concert. Written by
In Patricia Highsmith's original novel, most of the action takes place in France, not Italy, Tom Ripley and Jonathan Trevanny are both married to Frenchwomen who are named Heloise and Simone, not Luisa and Sarah. The character of Reeves is also different, in the novel he is an American fence whose motives are more obscure than they are depicted in the movie. See more »
The egg stain on Ripley's sofa disappears between shots. See more »
I'm a creation. A gifted improviser. I lack your conscience and when I was young that troubled me. It no longer does. I don't worry about being caught because I don't believe anyone is watching. The world is not a poorer place because those people are dead. It's one less car on the road. It's a little less noise and menace. You were brave today. You put some money away for your family. That's all.
If you lack my conscience, why did you help me on the train?
I don't know, but it doesn't surprise...
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The 2002 version of RIPLEY'S GAME compares favorably to Wim Wenders's film from 1977, THE AMERICAN FRIEND. Director Cavani is adept at staging scenes so that they are always interesting and compelling. The film has a sure sense of forward thrust, which is indispensible for this type of material. And Cavani conjures up some superior acting from all the principals in the cast. It is easy to be impressed with John Malkovich's quiet malevolence as Ripley. The mannered actor rivets his character from the opening, a marvelously paced sequence leading to a swift climax that hooks the viewer for the rest of the film. Ray Winstone and Lena Headey are more than adequate in their support as well. If Ripley is the brain of the story, it is Jonathan, Ripley's tormented victim, who must be the heart of it. And this is why RIPLEY'S GAME is so fascinating and involving. We are drawn to the machinations and danger, but also moved by Jonathan's tragic implication. As good as the superb Bruno Ganz is with Wenders, Dougray Scott in the present film may even be slightly better. This is the kind of role that demands everything from an actor, and Scott delivers it all with complete conviction. It's an example of perfect casting, and Scott deserves to be applauded for it.
Beautifully shot by Alfio Contini, and scored with genius by Ennio Morricone, RIPLEY'S GAME does not quite approach the stylistic brilliance of Wenders's mournful cityscapes in THE AMERICAN FRIEND. But Malkovich's performance is at least the equal of Dennis Hopper's and Dougray Scott gives Bruno Ganz more than worthy competition.
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