The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) Poster

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The Evolution of a Sociopath!
spookyrat111 May 2019
With The Talented Mr Ripley, Anthony Minghella gives us a superb adaption of Patricia Highsmith's novel of the same name. It tells the story of a young con artist, who almost accidentally appears to evolve into the role of a serial killer whilst in pursuit of a hedonistic lifestyle, who, with a combination of intelligence, cunning and a unique skill set, always seems able to evade justice.

Minghella is extremely clever in the manner in which he constructs his narrative. The first hour of the film almost plays out like some boys own gap year romantic adventure set on the sun-dappled shores of the late 1950's Italian coastline. Matt Damon is the ideal young protagonist, with Minghella highlighting what is almost (but not quite) the innocent boyishness of his title character, as he takes his first uncertain, but enthusiastic steps, in pursuit of La Dolce Vitta.

The movie is a triumph of casting. Besides Damon, Jude Law features in a star-making turn as Dickie Greenleaf, a character he succeeds in both making alluring and somewhat repellent, thus ultimately becoming the ideal lamb to be led to perhaps what is an unplanned slaughter. Gwyneth Paltrow has both the looks and talent to give us a multi-dimensional Marge, who we see convincingly becoming more confused and confounded by her "Dickie's" apparent behaviour, as the story continues to unfold. Phillip Seymour Hoffman in a smaller, but crucial supporting role, is perfect as the very much self-absorbed Freddie Miles, an old compatriot of Dickie's and a rival for Ripley, of Dickie's attention.

The thriller elements of the story are ratcheted up in the movie's second half as Ripley's darker motivations become more predominant and his actions become more challenged by the intercessions of characters such as the aforementioned Freddie, attractive socialite Meredith (Cate Blanchette), Marge's lawyer friend Peter Smith-Kingsley (Jack Davenport), the Italian police and an American private detective. The twists and turns resulting from Ripley's increasingly devious actions are both enormously suspenseful, but pleasingly realistic, given the skills we see him develop as well as the connections we see him establish.

Anthony Minghella's adaption of Highsmith's book is, in my opinion, an example of an extremely sophisticated, cinematic enhancement of the original literary work. Tom Ripley is introduced as a fascinating anti-hero. It just seems somewhat odd in this era of franchise brands, that unlike a similar character such as Hannibal Lector, no other well-known directors have gone on to successfully continue his complex, yet beguiling story.
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The Purple Noon of Anthony Minghella
marcosaguado2 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
As a huge fan of Rene Clement's "Purple Noon" I came to Minghella's version of Patricia Highsmith's story with suspicion and an irrational predisposition to dismiss it. Well, I was wrong. The talented Mr. Minghella perpetrated a magic trick. The film stands on its own as an entertaining, creepy, thoughtful, beautiful to look at piece of film-making. Jude Law throw us for six, we're not suppose to feel attracted to the selfish Dickie Greenleaf, but we do. His scrumptious performance is alluring, seductive. He is a scene stealer of major proportions. In the original, Maurice Ronnet's oily Dickie Greenleaf was a perfect lamb to the slaughter. We don't mourn his death and want the murderous Ripley, as played by Alain Delon, to get away with it. Here, when Jude Law is on the screen that's what we're looking at. We're prepared to forgive him anything and everything. I did believed in Gwyneth Paltrow's qualm, totally. In the original, Marie Laforet played it as a tenuous, unclear little excuse. Gwyneth Paltrow gives us a multi dimensional character and we go through her torment every step of the way. That, presumably, is merit in great part of Minghella's superb screenplay. Other joys are Cate Blanchett and Philip Seymour Hoffman. On the minus side Matt Damon couldn't make me forget Alain Delon. His Ripley is a better written character than Delon's and his performance is top notch, but Delon was breathtaking on the screen. I think than Anthony Minghella was more interested in the inner workings of Ripley's mind that in the pyrotechnics of a implausible plot. Good. The semi confession of Matt Damon about a basement full of secret truths tells us about his pain about his fear. Delon's Ripley is amoral to the hilt. The murder of Dickie in the original is terrifying. It takes forever. As well as the getting rid of Freddy's body. Minghella never show us how Ripley managed to bring a dead body down the stairs. Clement spends a great deal of time with it. Making it enormously suspenseful. But, as I mentioned before we did care about Delon and, maybe, Minghella new that whether Damon got caught or not wasn't that important. All in all I liked the film very much and the biggest lesson from a film fanatic's point of view is: you don't kill your Jude Law half way through a film unless you leave us in the hands of someone who will make us forget him. Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, remember that?
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Dark And Gorgeous
littlemartinarocena10 October 2007
Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley gets a deluxe reincarnation here, merit of the talented Mr. Minghella. A sensational script adaptation, stunning Italian locations and an extraordinary supporting cast. Tom Ripley saw the light before, most memorably with the face of Alain Delon in another beautiful outing by the underrated Rene Clement. This time, the winning feature is the superbly tailored script that gets inside the heads of the characters giving us a full panoramic view of their privileges as well as their desolation. Tom Ripley, the amoral, becomes the tortured immoral here. Anthony Minghella gives him a conscience, a self-awareness giving the tale an extra chilling touch. Matt Damon's natural dullness works wonders here. This may be his best performance to date. But it is the supporting cast that makes "The Talented Mr. Ripley" fly so high. Jude Law as the spoiled, vain and ultimately cruel Dickie Greenlef is truly remarkable. His worthlessness, crystal clear for everyone to see, becomes irrelevant due to the astonishing charisma and oodles of sexiness that Jude Law exudes. That, in itself, makes Gwynneth Paltrow's character totally believable. She's an intelligent woman who must know Dickie for what he is but she puts that aside and we don't question it. Philip Seymour Hoffman's Freddie is a fully fleshed out character who's on the screen for a few minutes but leaves and indelible impression. Great fun to witness his two faces. Creepy and wonderful. But it is Cate Blanchett, in a creation worthy of W Somerset Maughan that becomes the icing on this scrumptious cake. I would love to see a film where her Meredith is the central character. This "Talented Mr. Ripley" cemented my film relationship with Anthony Minghella. I wait for his films with childish anticipation.
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Slow perhaps, but absorbing thriller with beautiful scenery
TheLittleSongbird9 December 2010
Yes The Talented Mr Ripley is slow at times, but to me it is always absorbing and very rarely boring. The scenery is simply dazzling and really quite exotic, and the costumes and cinematography are gorgeous too. The music is superb, as is Anthony Minghella's direction. The story is very compelling with a number of interesting and well-handled scenes, while the script is both intelligent and thoughtful. The acting is excellent, Matt Damon does wonderfully in a difficult and perhaps controversial role, and Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett and Phillip Seymour Hoffmann are equally terrific. Overall, quite an excellent film. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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Thoughtful psychological study or perversely entertaining? Your pick
SKG-229 December 1999
Patricia Highsmith's original novel is about a charming, amoral man who already has all the elements in place before he does his terrible deeds, and while Rene Clement's adaptation, PURPLE NOON(1960) doesn't show us Ripley before he came to Europe, Alain Delon certainly was all amoral charm. In his adaptation, Anthony Minghella takes on a different tack, showing us Tom Ripley before he became the Talented Mr. Ripley(just as last year's ELIZABETH showed Elizabeth before she became The Virgin Queen; by coincidence, both films star Cate Blanchett). When a filmmaker tries to add psychological depth to what is generally pulp entertainment, it doesn't always work, but Minghella has pulled it off, while keeping it entertaining.

There have been some people who think Matt Damon is too colorless here. In Clement's adaptation, that might have been true, but the point here is Ripley is SUPPOSED to be a nonentity, a blank page waiting to be filled(thus lines like "I always figured it would be better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody," or when Dickie Greenleaf(Jude Law) tells Ripley that with his glasses on, he looks like Clark Kent) by someone like Dickie. Ripley may have been pretending from day one(which is how he gets to meet Dickie in the first place), but there was nothing sinister about it, just a bunch of little white lies. It's not till he gets entranced by the life in Italy, and Dickie's life in particular, and then finds himself shut from it, that things happen. And Damon is excellent at going through the transformation(and it's not just the glasses, as one comment suggested, it's the hair, the clothes, and the whole attitude).

Anthony Lane of The New Yorker, probably my favorite critic today, liked the film, but he thought it would have been better if Damon and Law had switched roles. Again, if Minghella was remaking Clement's version, sure, but not this way. If you want someone to be an object of desire, you better make sure they're desirable, and Law is quite good there, along with showing the layers underneath. Gwyneth Paltrow has the tougher role, because she has to be both smart and able to be fooled, but she pulls it off, especially in the scene when she tells Tom she really knows what he is. Cate Blanchett and Philip Seymour Hoffman are also good in small roles, James Rebhorn is dependable, and Philip Baker Hall makes a memorable cameo.

One more thing; there have also been complaints that the first half is too long, and the ending is weak. The first half not only sets up Ripley's slowly falling in love with Dickie's life(and even Dickie), but also sets up some plot points which pay off later, so it's necessary. And when Ripley finally becomes The Talented Mr. Ripley, it's unsettling and still delivers a perverse kick. As for the ending, without giving anything away, it's the only way it could end; he goes on, but at what cost? This is terrific moviemaking.
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The Underrated Mr. Ripley
petra_ste29 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
There are thrillers I enjoy but rarely feel any desire to watch again; however, I find that those lighter on set-pieces but heavier on character interactions and atmosphere have a better replay value for me.

The Talented Mr. Ripley is a perfect example. The movie takes its time in the first act, allowing us to identify with ambitious liar Tom Ripley (Matt Damon in one of his best performances) who yearns for a better life and manages to ingratiate himself with wealthy heir Dickie Greenleaf (an electric Jude Law).

Dickie is enjoying an endless vacation in Italy; Tom starts to tag along. At first the narcissistic Dickie likes the company of this nice young man who obviously idolizes him; however, Tom develops an obsession with Dickie, who decides he is fed up with him...

The movie lets us share Ripley's point of view, entangles us in his web of lies. The bond we develop with him is crucial or the rest of the film, where his deceptions take a darker turn, simply wouldn't work.

Damon and Law are great, well supported by Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jack Davenport. Minghella's direction is elegant, meticulous, crafting moments of great tension.

One of my favorite scenes is the first killing. I don't know whether it comes straight from the novel or was changed for the adaptation, but it's masterful, making use of a clever writing trick: setting a scene where you'd least expect it to take place. We are used to movie murders happening in dark, ominous locations, but this one unfolds in broad daylight on a boat rocking in the middle of a beautiful blue sea: when violence erupts, it's all the more shocking.

As a police investigation starts, Tom relies on his talent for lying and impersonating people, but there is a stark difference from the usual trope of the innocent man dragged into a crime against his will and who is just trying to survive. Tom clearly relishes the wealth and opportunities brought by his deception: he likes this game and is very good at it.

The bookend to the first murder is the ending (MAJOR SPOILERS), with the last killing in a ship's cabin. Once again Tom kills someone he loves, only this time, with cruel irony, the victim actually loves him back and the killing isn't a spur-of-the-moment reaction but deliberate, as Tom finds no other way to cover up his crimes. The Pyrrhic victory of the villanous protagonist, who has managed to fool everyone but is now broken and alone, is one of the most memorable movie endings of recent cinema.

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Envigorating and effective masterpiece
The_Void19 December 2004
When it comes to naming the best films of the 1990's, The Talented Mr. Ripley hardly ever gets a mention. This is one of cinema's greatest mysteries; how can a film as well made, constantly intriguing and brilliantly conceived as this one constantly get passed over? And in favour of many under deserving films as well? Really strange. Almost as big a mystery as the one I've just mentioned is the web of intrigue created here. Through deep, complex characters and situations rich with double meaning, Anthony Minghella has turned Patricia Highsmith's original novel into a cinematic masterpiece. The talented Matt Damon stars as the talented man of the title that is offered $1000 to travel to Italy to try and return Dickie; the rich and spoilt son of a millionaire. What follows is a complex, disturbing and fascinating expose of a man ingratiating himself into the lives of Dickie, his girlfriend Marge and high society on the whole...

The main reason why The Talented Mr. Ripley works so well is that it's central characters are deep labyrinths that beg to explored and analysed. Every scene is rich with double meaning and character interactions that exist under the surface of the drama we are seeing on screen. The character of Tom Ripley is a true masterpiece of characterisation indeed. This sociopath, that would rather be "a pretend somebody than a real nobody" is a myriad of contradictions and muddled personalities. His actions are always amoral and through his lies and deception, it is obvious that he doesn't care at all for anyone around him. However, despite this; we are still able to feel for him through his tribulations. The story is told in such a way that it is difficult to feel for any of the other characters and all of our sympathies lie with the talented Tom Ripley. This puts the audience in a strange situation, as we're used to hating the antagonist and feeling for the protagonist, but this film turns that on it's head, and to great effect.

The film is helped implicitly by the fact that it's one of the most professionally made films ever to make it onto the screen. Every scene, every action, every line uttered is done with the greatest assurance and nothing at all in the film appears to be there by accident or out of place. The way that the characters interact with each other and their surroundings is always believable and we never question anything that is shown on screen. Anthony Minghella's direction is more than solid, and this is helped by the stunning photography, courtesy of 1950's Italy. Many a film has benefited from Italy's landscape, and this is one of them. This is all great, but it's the performances that put the final finishing touch on this amazing masterclass of film-making. As mentioned, the talented Mr Damon takes the lead role and completely makes it his own. He often gets coupled with his friend, Ben Afleck, when it comes to acting; but this is very unfair as Damon is one of today's brightest stars. Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow make up the other two leads. I'm not the biggest fan of either of these two stars, but both, like Damon, give performances here that will always be associated with their personalities. Cate Blanchett has a small role, but the real plaudits for the smaller performances go to the brilliant Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who steals every scene he's in.

The Talented Mr. Ripley is one stunning piece of film. Ignore the people that don't consider this one of the 1990's greatest achievements; they are wrong. The film is a masterpiece of tense situations, great characterisation and professional film-making. And I refuse to hear otherwise.
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It deserves to be much higher then 7.4
robhingston21 September 2019
One of the last great movies of the 20th century, Yes I was so surprised to see it so low I really expected it to be 8.3 or something like that,
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A Plot of Greed, Adoration, Rejection... and Tragedy
drqshadow-reviews10 October 2017
A small-scale imposter / con man, making the rounds in 1950s New York, gets caught up in something much greater than his usual scam and decides to let it ride, if just to see where he winds up. In this case the answer is Italy, gorgeous vestige of the old world with just a few hints of the modern one, where he's tasked with convincing a flippant trust funder to return from a perpetual, fortune-draining holiday. That mission quickly goes by the wayside, just as soon as he realizes how much easier life is in the lap of luxury, and he merely exacerbates said money-letting as the wealthy playboy's new wingman. When things take a turn for the messy, though, his welcome worn thin and nothing to show for it but bittersweet memories, a panicked string of responses sends the entire comfortable lifestyle into a tailspin. At its root, Ripley is an example of how fear and rejection can press a normally smart, affable person over the brink into monstrosity, a surprise considering the playful tone of the first act. Matt Damon, still fresh from his breakout in 1997's Good Will Hunting, shows great versatility in the leading role (essential for such a complicated character), smoothly masking that twitch in his eye from all but the viewing audience. It's one of those films where you'll feel wrong about your rooting interest, knowing all along that the guy absolutely does not deserve a happy ending, with the final moments serving as your comeuppance.
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Duality makes this film an heir to Hitchcock's classics.
nathan193 January 2000
Duality -- the ability to be one person in a certain situation, and another in another -- is the underlying and pervading theme of "The Talented Mr. Ripley." It is a theme that sparks the central conflict of the picture, that influences each of the main character's decisions and actions. Each character in the film is either pretending to be something else, or playing directly to a superficial identity. The film unravels each of the character's motivations for doing so, and in so doing strips away the layers of reality we construct for ourselves. Characters either uncover the explicit duality of their lives (Cate Blanchette's willingness to admit that she travels under another name), or have it uncovered for them (Tom Ripley). When each character is laid bare, when each character is most fully themselves, when each character stops acting and pretending, they are undone.

The film presents a main character who does his best to pursue another life -- but he cannot ultimately follow through with it. We are trapped by who we are, aren't we? Gwyneth tries to become Dickie's ideal woman, to avoid asking him to settle down, but she cannot -- she wants the home and the family. This is her undoing -- she weeps in the film, "I must have pressured him". Dickie can't escape the fact that he loves the nightlife -- that he strays, that his attention only lasts as long as the diversion. He says he will marry Gwyneth, but we know that his eye can never stop roaming. This is his undoing. Dickie's pal -- superficially polite, while snide and arrogant at the same time -- is much smarter than he appears, which leads to his undoing as well. When each of the characters lets their guard down and becomes who they are, it destroys them. Each of the characters has a tragic flaw that they try to ignore, or play to, a flaw which undoes the perfect lives they all pursue.

The ironic twist is that Tom Ripley is the catalyst for all of this -- yet, his tragic flaw is that he has no flaw. While each of the main characters has an identity they are running from, Ripley HAS no identity to speak of. He starts out pretending, and he pretends through the entire film. Who IS Tom Ripley? Even Tom himself wants to know. One would think that this would enable him to become the perfect actor -- when you paint on a blank canvas, one would think you can paint anything. But even Tom, blank as he is, distills down to someone -- even if it is a blank canvas, a "real nobody." And it is not only himself he is unsure of -- it is the entire world around him. Among his first lines in the film is a line uttered while listening to a jazz record -- he mumbles to himself, "Can't tell if it's a woman or a man." It is this uncertainty that informs the world he sees, and how he relates to it. Is Tom gay or straight? Is he evil or good? Even Tom doesn't know.

The film points out that we cannot run from our own darker half. We are all tempted to become someone else -- anyone who has been made fun of in school, who has longed for the life of the rich and famous, can identify with this The enemy is not without, it is within. It is this same duality which haunted and tormented so many of Hitchock's characters, most notably (but not exclusively) Norman Bates in "Psycho." "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is a worthy heir to that film classic in its ability to get the audience to sympathize and empathize with Tom. We feel his love for Dickie Greenleaf -- we feel his frustration at being shut out of his life -- we feel the awkwardness of being trapped in a situation that was never intended. As we watched Marion Crane's car pause in the swamp and waited breathlessly, perversely hoping it would sink and allow Norman's mother to get away with murder, so too we watch Tom Ripley descend into darkness, and when the cops arrive at his hotel, we wait breathlessly with Tom, hoping he will get away.

Duality is present within us all... and while we are taught "to thine own self be true," in this film it is only when we are true to ourselves, that true pain comes.
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"I'd rather be a fake somebody, than a real nobody..."
moselekm6 April 2010
I'd have to say The_Void really sums up on how amazing this film is and because I find his library of reviews so helpful, I will link them now: His review should definitely take precedence over all other Reviews for this film (and probably a lot more). I write this review for the chance that if someone liked one of my opinions, they'd come and see what I thought of this masterpiece.

I can't remember that last time I felt my heart jerked like this in some time. Well that is a lie, I do remember. The last time would have had to of been when I saw: Match Point. So let's get the 'if you liked/hated' bust out of the way and say if you liked Woody Allen's Match Point, I can't see why you wouldn't ultimately like this. Not that they're AT ALL the same, nor do I have some sort of expertise on the matter. I just know the rare feeling Match Point gave me is the same this movie gave me. It sets so many moods and it does it with such finesse you find yourself begging for more and more in a devilish fashion you'll catch yourself many times wondering why you're rooting for Mr. Ripley.

The movie is only 2 hours and 20 minutes or there abouts. But it feels like a lifetime. Not the sort of lifetime when you're waiting in the DMV. The sort of life time where you experience, learn, and think about through your life. Not to say this film is a learning experience. But it IS an experience and it will fill a hole in your film-going life for that thick-plot, character ran, and dark trenching void you may have. I can't think of a film that quite compares in sequence of events, twists, character development, character inclusion quite like this.

Every character is important, every event is important, and everything you think is pretty null and void. Or possibly that is just me.

It should be heavily noted that this film STARTS SLOW, as many have said and probably judged it that way. I'd say it picks up speed around the 15-20 minute mark and it roller coasters from there. And let me tell you, when it accelerates, it seriously doesn't know how to stop and personally, I never wanted it to stop. This is the sort of film where not even the most annoying person can scream at the film, because you're too tight lipped about everything going on and you'll most likely find yourself wanting Ripley to keep going. And when I say Ripley, I really mean the movie.

And the movie doesn't stop, it keeps going. Even after it's over, you will be doing a mental tango of all the information you have received and trying to sort out all the pieces. And trust me, there are pieces. If you go to watch this film to just watch a 90's flick, you're doing it wrong. You will probably find the movie a flop of just dark moments led by lies and deceit. (Which it really is). But to those who went to watch this film because we wanted to know why there was so much mixed hype about this 1999 film, we should have all noticed there were the smallest bits of puzzle pieces and the biggest amounts of twists that really made this film what it is.

I don't even like Matt Damon, I personally have a biased grudged towards the guy and his movies. But I'd have to say, it's tough to choose between his performances here and Good Will Hunting. He, along with the entire cast will tug at heart strings you never thought you had. There are the strings for romance, thrillers, and horror. These strings are the one's collecting dust and sometimes never see the light of day for a life time. It's rare to come across a film that seems to have everything and goes about it like it's nothing, like it doesn't even seem to care if you're watching or not, because it all is going to happen with or without you. It's truly it's own living, breathing, and dark entity.

Watch this film if you want a film that will bake in your brain for the days, weeks, maybe months to come. It's not to late to bring this movie back up into lunch-time conversation in the new century.
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Perfect sense of dread
SnoopyStyle10 November 2013
Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is a struggling lower class bathroom attendant in 1950s Manhattan. He's mistaken for being in the world of the super wealthy when an upper crust man hires Tom to retrieve his wayward son Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) from Italy for $1000. He finds Dickie with his girlfriend Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow) and is lured into the world of the leisure class. When Dickie gets tired of Tom, Tom does the unthinkable and uses his underhanded skills to hang on.

Director/writer Anthony Minghella has instilled a sense of dread and foreboding. The acting is top notch with the most important coming from Matt Damon and Jude Law. There are honorable mentions to Philip Seymour Hoffman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett. I do wish they play up Tom Ripley's homosexual side with Dickie and intensify the creepiness. Other than that, this movie has the perfect tone and sense of doom. It is such a perverse movie that you almost root for the conniving Tom Ripley.
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Less than the sum of the parts
FlickJunkie-229 June 2000
If you add up all the various aspects of this film, it should have been terrific. It had a hot and talented young cast, all of whom gave good to great performances. It had wonderful locations, costumes, props and music. It had an intriguing plot. And yet by the end all I felt was ennui.

This was a case of a director who couldn't induce the full potential out of his various resources. Anthony Minghella does a fine job on the cinematography and choice of beautiful locations in Italy, but his crafting of the story left it predictable and flaccid. This was supposed to be both a character study and a thriller. It was inadequate on both counts.

In a well made character study the viewer will come to understand the motivations of the characters. This film never delivers in this regard. The only character that was well developed was Dickie (Jude Law). Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow) was a mystery, just a hanger on. Meredith (Cate Blanchett) was nothing more than a plot device. But the biggest reason it came up short was because the motivation of Ripley (Matt Damon) was left too ambiguous. Was Ripley a cunning con man orchestrating a grand caper, an inept interloper who bungled his way through a propitious opportunity, a victim of circumstances, an unrequited gay lover who committed a crime of passion and then needed to cover his trail? Take your pick. Minghella doesn't tell the story in a way that makes this clear.

As a thriller, it lacked surprise. Every murder was telegraphed. The private investigator gives Ripley a pass at the end, obviating the need for Ripley to provide some clever explanation for all the inconsistencies. There was not a single twist in the entire film. It had all the intrigue of playing open handed bridge.

For all the raves I've read about Matt Damon's performance, I found it rather uneven. Sometimes he came across as a clever mastermind and at others a wounded puppy. It seemed like he wasn't really sure how to play the character. Again, I put the responsibility for this on Minghella. I'd call it a generally good performance of a difficult character, but not even close to his dynamism in ‘Good Will Hunting'.

This was a shining moment for Jude Law who gave a career performance as Dickie. He basically stole the show out from under Damon's nose. He endowed his character with exuberance, and a cavalier live-for-today attitude that made him charismatic despite his callousness and irresponsibility. I enjoyed his performance in the unheralded ‘Music From Another Room' but this one was even better. If he keeps improving like this, he will be a force to be reckoned with.

I rated this film a 6/10 on the strength of Law's performance and the cinematography. The telling of the story fell flat and robbed this film of its real potential.
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One of the best intellectual thrillers
agrawalmannu3 October 2005
I was so fascinated by Tom Ripley's character that I watched this movie again and again. There was something about him that I felt sympathetic towards on one hand and gave me the creeps on the other. Sympathetic because in more than one ways he is like you and me. He wants to be rich, he wants approval and he is may be just an opportunist. Creepy because he latches on like a leech, he can't take rejection and though he doesn't plan but once he assumes the identity of someone else he can go to any extent to keep that. Actually one can identify with the character so much that it's almost scary to look inside your dark corners.

Matt Damon played this three-dimensional character so well that I almost became a huge fan of his. Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf, whose identity Tom Ripley steals was very good as well. The movie is shot in Italy, moves at a leisurely speed and is very atmospheric. One of my all time favorite thrillers.
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Matt Damon's Leap to Any Role He Wants
TheAll-SeeingI14 November 2019
"The Talented Mr. Ripley" recounts the hedonistic yet still-sensual glamour of 1950's Italy, and its one-time status as an escapist playground for affluent, young American men.

Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) casts his gaze on Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), a charmed and charming jet setter with a gorgeous young girlfriend (Gwyneth Paltrow), and an abundance of both confidence and cash. It first starts back in New York, where Dickie's dad commissions Ripley -- whom he mistakes as a Princeton pal of Dickie's -- to journey to Italy to fetch his son and bring him back stateside. Ripley soon falls in love with Dickie and his opulent lifestyle; as an audience, we're placed inside Ripley's thoughts as an open invitation to feel his deep jealousy and burgeoning excitement, while at the same time recognizing his alarming desire to project as someone other than his true self. Ultimately, this warping of mind comes at the expense of Dickie's continued existence on the planet, and this is where "The Talented Mr. Ripley" eschews its promise of a full-blown psychological drama by taking on more traditional thriller constructs.

How wrong so many of us were early in Damon's career, when it was assumed he'd follow Hollywood typecasting to a productive yet potentially narrow career. Instead, he thrives to this day as an A-list actor, and while writing his own tickets. It's most assuredly his (literally) killer performance in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" that showcased his unassailable ability to embody a uniquely layered, against-type role, and at an elite level. A highly engaging film. - (Was this review of use to you? If so, let me know by clicking "Helpful." Cheers!)
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Strong Acting makes this film a must watch
sauravjoshi8513 January 2022
The Talented Mr. Ripley is a psychological thriller film written and directed by Late Anthony Minghella. The film is based on Late Patricia Highsmith's 1955 novel of the same name. The film stars Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Jack Davenport, Late James Rebhorn and Late Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The strongest part of the film is probably it's strong casting with almost all the characters were aptly perfect for their roles and did a terrific work.

The screenplay of the film is slow but still will not deviate the attention of the viewers. The atmosphere of the Italy in the 50s is mesmerizing. The twists and turns at regular intervals of the film will keep the guessing game on and the film ends with a good climax.
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Excellent thriller!
davispittman14 August 2017
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) really is one of the best crime thrillers I've ever seen. The film is set in late 1950's, it centers around Tom Ripley, a man who gets hired by Jude Law's father to go to Italy and persuade him to come back to America. When he does and gets to know him and his fiancé (Gwenyth Paltrow), things take a different turn.... The plot to this movie is very layered, and that is one of the many things that makes it great. One thing is for sure, if you like crime thrillers then you are sure to love this one. The acting is another great part about this movie. Almost all the actors were coming off of big hits when this movie came out, and every cast members great acting abilities are showcased. Matt Damon is absolutely fabulous here, it's probably the best performance I've seen him give in his career. And Paltrow's performance is very good here too... I loved her dramatic scenes, I really thought she nailed it. Jude Law and Cate Blanchett are good in their roles as well, I honesty think that Damon deserved an academy award nomination more than Law did. The writing in the movie elevates everything and really pulls it all together. Overall I 100% recommend this film this film to everyone! 10/10.
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Disturbing, yet compelling
cardsrock24 April 2020
A talented cast leads this twisted film about identity and becoming someone else. I enjoyed this movie quite a bit. It makes you think and lingers with you long after the credits roll. Anthony Minghella fills the screen with gorgeous European visuals that really add to the atmosphere. It is a tad long and takes a little bit to get going, but the Talented Mr. Ripley is another great film from 1999.
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A movie must see
jdustein27 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The Talented Mr. Ripley is ominous and foreboding, suspenseful and exciting, slow and emotional. The movie has as many facets as Mr. Ripley has talents, and it takes the viewer through an interesting and worthwhile experience.

The movie is set in the late 1950s and begins just as Tom Ripley--if that is his real name--begins his grand act of deception. The movie is based on a series of novels written by Patricia Highsmith that are centered on Mr. Ripley.

Tom Ripley, who is played by Matt Damon, deceives a man into believing that he knows his son well. That man decides to send Tom to Italy to retrieve his son, Dickie Greenleaf. Dickie, who is played by Jude Law, is privileged and arrogant, but he is also adored by those who know him. His father believes he has been sailing and schmoozing in Italy for far too long. Dickie's father promises to pay Tom's travel expenses and award him $1,000 to return with Dickie. Tom readily accepts the offer.

The first scene that intrigued me was when Tom lands in Italy. He meets a pretty American girl named Meredith, played by Cate Blanchett, and he introduces himself as Dickie Greenleaf. I almost did not catch the lie at first, and I nearly forgot about it when Tom says goodbye to Meredith, returns to being Tom Ripley, and goes to meet up with Dickie. Tom pretends to meet Dickie by chance and tells him they knew each other in college. Dickie is with his girlfriend Marge, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, and, of course, he does not recognize Tom.

Tom builds his talents for deception while making his way into Dickie's life, but he uses the truth of his mission to gain Dickie's trust. They quickly become friends. Everything seems to be going well for Tom, and it is at this point that I began to empathize with him because of his eagerness to participate socially and his obvious fear of loneliness.

As he and Dickie become closer, Tom's attraction for Dickie becomes palpable. At the same time, Dickie takes note of Tom's infatuation and tries to brush him away by spending time with other friends. In a scene that left me shocked and confused, Tom's jealousy and passion overwhelm him while he and Dickie are sailing. They are arguing because Dickie tries to tell Tom he doesn't think that they should be friends anymore, and that Tom should return to America. Tom strikes Dickie with an oar and, after a scuffle, Tom beats Dickie to death. Tom cries as he hugs the bloodied corpse, once again leaving me unsure of Tom's plan--if he even has a plan.

Tom's journey truly begins as he starts to cover his tracks and decides that his only option is to attempt to steal Dickie's life. Tom tells Marge that Dickie is just taking time away. He tells those who know him as Tom that Dickie is away, and he tells others that he is Dickie. He cashes Dickies checks and lives in his home.

The other characters become pieces in Tom's game and he manipulates them to support his web of lies. Tom murders again when Dickie's friend, who has met Tom as Tom, is on the verge of discovering Tom's ruse. Once again, the murder does not seem predetermined, and Tom does it out of necessity because he cannot stand to lose his new lifestyle. Tom's lies and murders begin to spiral out of control as the police become involved. I found myself wondering if Tom would have to kill everyone in Italy that knew Dickie. I also began to empathize with Tom's delusional scheme because he seems to only want attention and affection from others.

Dickie's friends become increasingly worried about his absence, and Dickie's father travels to Italy and hires a private investigator. Just as Tom's evil plan is about to break apart, Tom gets away clean. Tom forges a suicide letter from Dickie, and the police and private investigator come to conclusions that leave Tom innocent.

Marge is the only person who suspects Tom, but she has become emotionally distressed and no one believes her. Dickie's father even leaves Tom some of Dickie's trust fund. Tom murders one last time as the movie ends. A man who had become his lover poses one last threat to his discovery because he still knows him as Tom, and others that know him as Dickie are aboard the same ship. Tom smothers him while crying to himself.

I found this movie to be thrilling, and honestly, confusing. I could watch it again and again and probably absorb some new, interesting aspect each time. Matt Damon gives a great performance that shows range that I have not seen in his later performances. I wish that I had seen this fantastic work of art earlier, and I am eager to read the books it is based on.
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Very Under-rated.
stirred_mind2 June 2000
I have seen reviews of this film and people give it 5/10 and 3/10. It is just because they couldn't understand the film. I, myself found it intriguing and my eyes were glued the the screen. The story is amazing, the direction is fabulous and the acting is excellent. The story kept my ass glued to my seat the whole time, with no intention of getting up.

In short, The Talented Mr. Ripley is the most intelligent thriller of 1999.
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Didn't Matter Enough
view_and_review20 December 2020
I wasn't feeling this movie; not for a lack of abilities on the part of Matt Damon or even Jude Law (Gwyneth Paltrow looked like a ham every emotional scene). The movie was too long and it took 45 minutes for anything of significant interest to happen.

Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) was sent to Italy to bring back Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) at the request of Dickie's father. Tom had just stepped foot in Italy and he was already lying about who he was to Meredith Logue (Cate Blanchett), but after that seemingly innocuous scene Tom settled into a lively and drama free life with Dickie. That was until Dickie told Tom that play time was over. That's when Tom killed Dickie. Even after this the movie only gained moderate traction. Obviously, we have to keep watching to find out what happens to Tom, but did we really care? If he was caught, if he got away, what did it matter? Not enough.
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A good amoral drama
Tweekums2 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Tom Ripley is a bit of a non-entity but also a bit of a chameleon who can make people think he belongs. After the wealthy Herbert Greenleaf mistakenly thinks Tom was a friend of his son Dickie he is given a job… to go to Italy and persuade Dickie to return to New York. He quickly meets Dickie and his girlfriend Marge Sherwood and befriends them. He is honest about why he is there but makes Dickie believe that they share similar interests. Soon he is staying with Dickie and Marge while still being paid by Dickie's father. Eventually Herbert Greenleaf writes to thank Tom for his work but also to let him know it is clear that he has failed in his task and will no longer be paid. At the same time Dickie starts to get tired of Tom's presence. Tom doesn't take this well and strikes Dickie; a struggle ensues and Dickie is killed. Tom manages to hide the death and carries on his life… he also starts playing the part of Dickie; a role he enjoys. Inevitably the deception is hard to maintain; Marge wants to know what happened to Dickie and when a friend of Dickie pays a visit Tom must kill again to protect his secret… a killing the police believe Dickie may have committed.

This was a really enjoyably film; plenty of time is spent introducing the characters and by the time of Dickie's death Tom is the more sympathetic character so it is easy for the viewer to see it as self-defence and hope he gets away with it. Even when he kills again it isn't hard to still hope he gets away with it as this victim was a frightful snob who had always looked down on Tom and people like him… it is only when Marge starts to be emotionally harmed by Tom's actions that sympathy for him starts to wane. The cast does a fine job; Matt Damen is particularly good as Tom Ripley; a character who isn't naturally dynamic but can play the part when needed. Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow also impress as Dickie and Marge. The story isn't rushed but nor does it drag and once Dickie has died the tension gradually rises; there is always the possibility that Tom will be exposed, either by the police or somebody who knows Dickie, and each to it looks like he could be exposed there is the feeling that people around him are in danger. Overall I'd definitely recommend this to anybody wanting a good drama set in some beautiful Italian locations.
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The best film of 1999, possibly the 90's.
bigpappa1--213 May 2000
Matt Damon turns in one of the most effective performances I've ever seen in recent memories. He trashes his golden boy image to play a psycho, so creepy it will make your skin crawl. Every person in Hollywood after seeing this film must be scared of him. Story involves Matt Damon staring as a poor working class who borrows a Yale or was it Harvard letter jacket to play the piano at a party for some rich snobs. After it is over he finds himself being asked to go to Italy to retrieve a millionaire's son (Jude Law). Upon arrival in Italy, Damon becomes so wrapped up in the rich life style, that he kills for it. Special attention must also be payed to Law for effectively stealing every single scene he is in, even though the cast includes two Oscar winners and one Oscar nominee. And then there is the beautiful cinematography, and the brilliant music score, and the terrific costumes and locations that makes us feel like we're back in Italy in the 50's. And then there is of course the brillant direction and script. What a terrific film. My favorite film of 1999 and one of my favorite films of all time. A perfect 10 for 10. Go see this film right away.
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Better than the book
shanayneigh18 December 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I really like this movie, and have seen it several times. I have only recently read the book, which isn't bad but not as good as this movie.

This movie is a masterclass in adaptation. There is far more tension in the movie than in the novel. The invention of Meredith Logue, who isn't in the novel, changing the nature of Peter Smith-Kingsley, and making Marge more suspicious against Ripley, especially at the end, all work in the movie's favor.

We spend more time with Ripley in New York in the book than in the movie. He arrives in Italy at around page 40 in a circa 250 page novel.

Their time in Mongibello is quite similar. The sub plot with Dickie's relationship with a local girl isn't in the book, which is a shame because it adds to his character.

The murder of Dickie completely changes the character of Ripley. In the movie it's more or less a crime of passion, of Ripley lashing out in anger after being rejected by Dickie. In the book it's cold blooded and premeditated murder. The argument they have in the boat in the movie, they have earlier in the book, leading Ripley to get Dickie in the boat for the purpose of murdering him. I'm not sure which version I like best, to be honest. The book version is closer to the Ripley character in the book sequels (which aren't very good).

The movie differs quite substantially from the book after this point, and in particular after the murder of Freddie Miles. And there is no doubt that the movie is the better one. A whole sub plot of the investigation of falsified signatures is taken out, and it is not missed. The ending of the book doesn't make much sense, whereas the movie ties everything together nicely.
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On Overstaying One's Welcome.
rmax30482328 June 2002
This is a considerably better movie than I'd expected. I'd only seen Matt Damon in one or two forgettable supporting roles before and thought of him as belonging to a recently minted crop of glamorous heart throbs like Brad Pitt, Leonard DaCaprio and Keanu Reeves, guys who seem to bring little presence to the screen. But I was wrong about Damon, at least as far as "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is concerned. He turns in a subtle and nuanced performance. And he LOOKS the part in a well-bred sort of way but with a sinisterly twisted mouth, a face as handsome and as meaningless as the full moon.

Yes, in his appearance, including his grooming, he could easily pass for an old-breed Princetonian, the kind who belongs to a self-defined superior WASP elite, the sort ground out by Princeton, a factory for the uptrodden, a few generations ago, who know they're better than others and enjoy letting others know about it -- like Dicky here, or Richard Brookheiser at the so-called Free Press in actual life. Don't mean to put Old Nassau down too much. I was a proctor there.

I was expecting a kind of thriller along the lines of "Strangers on a Train," basically a mystery with character development built into it. There's little mystery here, except whether Ripley, a remorseless con man, is going to get away with it. I also expected him to enter the narrative deliberately committed to grabbing with both hands for every opportunity for exploitation and self-advancement that came within reach. Instead he is drawn into the narrative quite by accident. And, although he shows an early ability to adapt to ambiguous situations, he doesn't seem to have planned out very much. The entire story is more or less one accident after another. Ripley switches identities and keeps running into people who know him under different names in the most unlikely places. A bit more of that sort of thing, played for laughs, and we'd almost have "Mrs. Doubtfire" redux.

Two other observations. The ambiance of Italy in the mid-1950s is gotten down pat. It's winter, and in Mediterranean climates this is the rainy season, so the streets are often slick and the shadows deep and disturbing. No sunny vistas here. And we get the grand tour of Italy -- the Spanish steps, the fountain of Trevi, the grand canal, somebody walking through a horde of pigeons in St. Mark's Square. Even the grooming is accurate. Horn-rimmed glasses, and long hair conservatively parted on the side. (That's accurate for Europe, anyhow. Americans had shorter hair at the time, with lots of crew cuts.) The background music includes Mozart but is mainly jazz, as it was in Europe at the time.

The second observation. Some reviews have referred to "a gay subtheme." I don't see anything "sub" about it. Ripley is clearly homosexual -- I'm dying to call him polymorphously perverse! -- or at least bisexual, like the author of the novel on which the story is based. Ripley's last affair is openly with a gay man. And there are homoerotic incidents and references slipped in whether they belong there or not. In a public square, one man sits spread legged across another's thighs and caresses his hair. Right. Freddy Miles, the vilest of the class snobs, walks around limp wristed (literally) and drips with catty sarcasm.

Patricia Highsmith's novel, which gave Hitchcock "Strangers on a Train," had no mind-numbing literary qualities. It was a rather straightforwardly written piece with no particular stylistic flourishes. I don't know if her writing style had changed in the few years between "Strangers" and "Mr. Ripley," but I doubt it. In that case, a good deal of the credit for the exploration into these fascinating characters must go to the director. He, like most of the others involved in this production, did a very nice job with it.
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