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Oh what a tangled web we weave ..., 11 December 2000

-Mr. Ripley- is a well-crafted psychological mind-bender that pulled me in from Tom Ripley's arrival in Italy. Most reviewers believe the storyline to be either ridiculously poor or intensely enthralling; I belong in the latter category. The only fault I see with the movie is the ending, which makes the film feel incomplete.

To address the opinions of other reviewers:

* The movie is too long - The movie does start off slowly; the first 40 minutes are mainly exposition and set-up for the "meat" of the story. After that, though, the story picks up with enough plot points and guileful Ripley machinations to where you're always asking what will happen next, and whether or not Ripley's tangled web will eventually unravel.

* "Gee, aren't I interested in some rich, gorgeous, self-centered schmuck and the dweeb who actually looks up to him. I mean, come on people? Is that America? Are my fellow Americans just dying to be perfect and rich; and nothing more?" - No, they're not, and the fact that Tom Ripley is NOT what most of our fellow Americans are like is what makes his character so intriguingly disturbing. Also, even though Ripley is a disturbed man, the fact that Dickie Greenleaf is a "rich, gorgeous, self-centered schmuck" makes many a viewer side secretly with Ripley in a twist of nefariously guilty pleasure.

-The Talented Mr. Ripley- is a film that definitely deserves to be seen and enjoyed.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The dark side of Hollywood, 2 December 2000

Of course, by "dark side" I'm not talking about the underworld of drugs depicted in this movie, but rather the film's cinematography (and my use of the term is more loose than a bad bowel movement). Although many awful elements have already been mentioned, another thing to note is the subtle lack of timeline continuity. The arrival in L.A. features Christmas decorations, but about two thirds of the way through the movie, a drug trafficker talking to Buzz on the street reminds him of a meeting on "May 2." Nothing else in the movie ever suggests that the plot plays itself over five months.

As StinkerCritics mentioned, this film has the worst continuity error in movie history, which is probably why -Girl- was the last editing job ever given to Leo H. Shreve. (Who?) I bet the "magic diner teleport" scene exists because the filmmakers couldn't break the budget with the $5 worth of film needed to reshoot the start of the scene with Buzz in it. Of course, reshooting it might've also meant depriving Mr. Shreve of his entire salary for this movie.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Fascinating subject matter, though the style of cinematography may not appeal to all, 6 November 2000

Cradle Will Rock is an ambitious cinematic project that many will have difficulty understanding during the first half of the movie. The filmmaking style weaves several subplots together into a cinematic collage, and it takes some effort to mentally catalog each subplot while the film is running. Oftentimes, the images on screen seem like part of a stream of consciousness, especially scenes when we take a look into the creative process of the playwright Marc Blitzstein (Hank Azaria). The style aside, I found the subject matter quite intriguing. The film reminded me of those high-school studies of the anti-Communist crusades of the 30's and 40's, and I was fascinated by the various ways in which the prevalent political sentiment of the day touched the lives of different people practising different forms of art and human expression.

After warming up to the film's unconventional style, I was able to derive some enjoyment out of it. I do wish, though, that more time was given to character development (not an easy task, I realize, with the number of characters in the movie). I could envision this as a three-hour movie or even a mini-series. More solid character development would've probably given more impact to the film's ending, which seemed a little bit contrived and didn't attain the climactic feel that a moviemaker would seek. My rating: 6/10.

Das Boot (1981)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
War is hell - and that's all you really need to know, 20 October 2000

Das Boot is by far one of the greatest war movies ever made. The thing that makes this movie so wonderful is its truthfulness - especially that it had the audacity to present WWII Germans as real human beings. In addition, rather than portraying war with the typical feel-good sugar-coated glory, bravery, honor, etc., it portrays war for all it really is: a twisted, terrifying experience that no person should ever have to face. Indeed, Das Boot is masterful at showing how the zeal and enthusiasm of young men (practically boys) slowly erode with each passing day spent in this filthy, humid sardine can they are forced to call home during their tour of duty.

The Director's Cut is a fantastic piece of work. The battle scenes especially feature extended, masterfully done tension-building sequences. Often, little more than silence and facial expression heighten the drama, drawing the viewer further and further into the waiting game - Is the enemy ship gone? Is the next depth charge about to explode? Many of the greatest moments in the film occur when these men utter not a single word.

In his DVD audio commentary, Wolfgang Petersen tells of how a couple of Hollywood deals fell through before his team finally decided to make a real German epic in "the German way." Thank heaven that Hollywood didn't get a chance to taint the story with some fluffy pro-American slant that would've defocused the whole point of this film: War is hell - and that's all you really need to know. My hat goes off to him, his crew, and his actors for their commitment in producing one of finest examples of quality filmmaking in existence.