In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy, named Dickie Greenleaf. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.
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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
John Malkovich remarked in an interview with the BBC that before starring in this film, he came close to directing The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) and that he was in negotiations to obtain the rights to direct a remake of the first "Talented Mr Ripley" adaptation, Purple Noon (1960). See more »
The egg stain on Ripley's sofa disappears between shots. See more »
The talented Mr. Ripley is in retirement in Europre; his last job that he carried out before retirement is shown early in the movie when the very elegant, suave, etc. Mr. Ripley turns and commits a very foul crime that shows his inner ruthlessness. The purpose of this scene is to introduce his cohort in crime as well as remind the viewer what sort of man Mr. Ripley is and the people he deals with.
Years past and Ripley is seemingly absorbed into proper society; though there are rumors about his past. Nonetheless life seems to be going well for Mr. Ripley; living in a fashionable Italian villa as well as being in love with a world class musician. Then, his former associate in crime arrives unexpectedly at the villa. As unwelcome as this associate is Ripley does not throw him out immediately; that would be too rude even in private life. The visit is, unfortunately, not a personal one. Rather, it is business. The associate has some problems in Berlin with the new Russian crime bosses. He needs to find somebody who will take out one of these bottom dwellers. Does Ripley know a good hit man for the job? Ripley mulls it over and determines that the best hit man for a job like this would be somebody who has never done this sort of stuff before. Can an innocent man be persuaded to do this? This is not an easy question in the movies or in real life. In any civilized society murder is condemned harshly. Even if the victim of a murder is a low life him/herself the crime is treated as murder. Are there any circumstances where killing is allowed? Yes, there are some killings allowed such as on a battlefield during war. But, that is state sanctioned. Shooting somebody in a mob type killing is hardly allowed- or is it?? Can it be justified? But, even if a "suitable" victim is found does that give anybody the right to shoot them?? And, even if the person is deemed "suitable" for elimination by some standard- will the killing end with this individual or will there be retaliation? And, if there is, who can one call for help?? Does the end justify the means? This movie asks the question of whether a non-criminal can be induced to commit murder. It also asks other questions; some of them quite disturbing to even contemplate. In a way it is a continuation of movies that go back to "The Man who Shot Liberty Valence"; movies that question what ordinary people can do in extraordinary circumstances.
Realistically I doubt that a man such as Tom Ripley even exists. He seems as improbable as James Bond. Yet, James Bond was (supposedly) modeled on some real life individuals. Such a man as Tom Ripley may actually be out there. If so, he (or they) will probably resemble the character John Malkovich portrays. It is a very good portrayal of a very complex person.
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