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

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

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.