The Talented Mr. Ripley

"Excellent"

The Talented Mr. Ripley Review


Few enough people know that The Talented Mr. Ripley is based on Patricia Highsmith's 1955 novel of the same name. Fewer still know they already made one movie about Mr. Ripley, a little French number called Purple Noon (1960). (Even fewer have seen the Ripley study called The American Friend (1977).)

If you happen to be one of a handful who has seen Noon, The Talented Mr. Ripley is retreading old ground. It's actually different. In fact, it's very different. So much so that with the exception of a few brief scenes and the overall theme, these two films could be based on different source material. What's really astonishing is that both are excellent films.

Tom Ripley (Damon) is introduced innocuously enough. He's a New York piano player/maintenance worker/bathroom attendant who, after borrowing a Princeton-crested jacket, suddenly finds himself propelled to Italy in search of Dickie Greenleaf (Law) at the behest of Dickie's father (Rebhorn). Tom arrives soon enough, finding Dickie living the slacker dream, sailing, drinking, and carousing -- when he's not spending time with steady girl Marge (Paltrow).

Ripley's plan to emulate Dickie is apparent from the start, but it isn't until free spirit Dickie inevitably pushes the clingy Tom away that Ripley figures he'll take over Dickie's life altogether. Then the fun really starts.

Matt Damon plays a sociopath with uncanny -- and quite spooky -- ease. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see Tom Ripley become a recurring antihero -- like a Hannibal Lecter should be. Highsmith wrote five books about Mr. Ripley, so there's plenty of source material to work from. Sequels or no, Damon is so dead-on scary that Hollywood likely shudders to be alone with him.

[] Gwyneth Paltrow, on the other hand, is fairly useless in her role. For starters, she vacillates between her standby British accent and her plain-old Gwyneth voice, neither of which really fit her character. Worse is that she has little to do in the film but often go hysterical, which doesn't help the movie. Before you Paltrow fans hit the "Send Hate Mail" button, try not to forget Gwynny's performance in dogs like A Perfect Murder, Great Expectations, and Hush. It's just too bad she had to muck up a perfectly good movie like this one.

Jude Law and the rest of the supporting cast, particularly Hoffman as a boorish American friend who shows up midway through the movie, are good or great. The music, dominated by period (1950s) jazz songs, is also well-suited for the disturbing thematics of the movie. And let's not forget director Anthony Minghella (The English Patient), who captures the beauty of Italy while coaxing some great performances from his actors.

On the sour side, Mr. Ripley's homosexual themes are awkward at best, and a few plot points (mainly Ripley setting up his alibi) seem to have been lost to editing, despite a 2:30 run time. As a thriller, this may seem long, but the mood is perfect and the film rarely drags. Altogether, it's a grand psychodrama. Perfect, you know, for the holidays.

Tons of extras on the DVD, including commentary from Minghella, trailers, interviews, and more goodies. Highly recommended.



The Talented Mr. Ripley

Facts and Figures

Run time: 139 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 25th December 1999

Box Office Worldwide: $128.8M

Budget: $40M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Miramax Films, Paramount Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Fresh: 106 Rotten: 22

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Tom Ripley, as Marge Sherwood, as Dickie Greenleaf, as Meredith Logue, as Freddie Miles, as Peter Smith-Kingsley, as Herbert Greenleaf, as Inspector Roverini, as Alvin MacCarron, as Aunt Joan, Fiorello as Fausto, as Silvana, as Colonnello Verrecchia, Anna Longhi as Signora Buffi, Alessandro Fabrizi as Sergeant Baggio, as Emily Greenleaf, Gretchen Egolf as Fran, Jack Willis as Greenleaf Chaffeur, Frederick Alexander Bosche as Fran's Boyfriend, Dario Bergesio as Police Officer, Larry Kaplan as Uncle Ted, Claire Hardwick as Gucci Assistant, Antonio Prester as American Express Clerk (as Nino Prester), Lorenzo Mancuso as Bus Driver, Onofrio Mancuso as Priest, Massimo Reale as Immigration Officer, Emanuele Carucci Viterbi as American Express Clerk, as Dahlia (as Caterina De Regibus), Silvana Bosi as Ermelinda, Gianfranco Barra as Desk Manager Aldo, as Tailor, Deirdre Lovejoy as Fighting Neighbor, as Fighting Neighbor, Guy Barker as Trumpet (Napoli Jazz Septet), Bernardo Sassetti as Piano (Napoli Jazz Septet), Perico Sambeat as Alto Sax (Napoli Jazz Septet), Gene Calderazzo as Drums (Napoli Jazz Septet) mer, Joseph Lepore as Double Bass (Napoli Jazz Septet), Rosario Giuliuni as Tenor Sax (Napoli Jazz Septet), Eddy Palerno as Electric Guitar (Napoli Jazz Septet), Byron Wallen as Cornet (San Remo Jazz Sextet), Pete King as Alto Sax (San Remo Jazz Sextet), Clark Tracey as Drums (San Remo Jazz Sextet), Jean Toussaint as Tenor Sax (San Remo Jazz Sextet), Geoff Gascoyne as Bass (San Remo Jazz Sextet), Carlo Negroni as Piano (San Remo Jazz Sextet), Beppe Fiorello as Silvana's Fiancé, Marco Quaglia as Silvana's Brother, Alessandra Vanzi as Silvana's Mother, Marco Rossi as Photographer, Roberto Valentini as Onegin (Eugene Onegin Player), Francesco Bovino as Lensky (Eugene Onegin Player), Stefano Canettieri as Zaretsky (Eugene Onegin Player), Marco Foti as Guillot (Eugene Onegin Player), Ludovica Tinghi as Fausto's Fiancée, Nicola Pannelli as Dinelli's Cafe Waiter, Paolo Calabresi as Customs Officer, Pietro Ragusa as Record Store Owner, Simone Empler as Boy Singer, Gianluca Secci as Policeman, Manuel Ruffini as Policeman, Pierpaolo Lovino as Policeman, Roberto Di Palma as San Remo Hotel Desk Clerk

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Advertisement
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.