The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Director: Anthony Minghella
Cast: Jude Law, Matt Damon,
Cate Blanchett, Gywneth Paltrow , Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
Novel: Patricia Highsmith
After a chance encounter with wealthy businessmen Mr. Greenleaf, and a minor misunderstanding, Tom Ripley is sent on a well paid errand to Italy. To bring back Mr. Greenleafs’ immoral, lay about son Dickie (Jude Law) to the USA.
Right from when he arrives in Italy, Tom Ripley starts lying about his identity. By introducing himself to society girl Meredith Logue (Cate Blanchett) as Dickie Greenleaf. From here on the lies continue, until he slowly gains the confidence, and positions himself into the society and life’s of Dickie and his girlfriend Marge (Gywneth Paltrow). He is suspected of lying by Dickie’s friend Freddie (Phillip Seymour Hoffman). And as Tom burrows deeper into Dickie’s life the deeper he gets, the more chance there is of him being found out.
As if all this lying was not by enough, Tom is in love with Dickie, but has nothing is ever 100% true in the life of Mr. Ripley he may actually have fallen in love with Dickie’s life.
The all spirals out of control and Dickie has to be this disposed of. After which Tom fully assimilates himself into Dickie’s place. But after Dickie’s “disappearance” people began to suspect Tom, and one corpse after another has to be produced, until, when after the unfortunate business, for Tom, of him falling in love with Peter Smith-Kingsley (Jack Davenport), he sees Peter as his escape route. But what Tom had started has to be finished.
The talented Mr. Ripley is like a “Secret of my Success” for the year 2000. Unlike that film though it has little comedy. In its stead it has a number of murders perpetrated by a sinister character. But like “Secret of my Success” it is about a young man who wishes to be somewhere other than where he is. And so infiltrates into a position in society, after first gaining the confidence of a rich, powerful family. But unlike “Secret of my Success” the adventurer does not get the girl/guy or gain much from his adventure by end of the film. In fact he is a lot worse off than he was before he started his journey.
It was not part of Tom’s plan to fall in love with Dickie. The only plan he seemed to have had was to become someone else other than himself. And he happened on Dickie Greenleaf.
Jude Law was wonderful as the rich layabout, Dickie. Matt Damon’s Ripley was intriguing, revolting and pathetic all at the same time. Phillip Seymour Hoffman gets better and better every time, good here as the suspicious flamboyant yuppie playboy. In Boogie nights he was good as the pudgy, intense and tortured, in love with Dirk the Diggler, sound man. In Magnolia he was brilliant as caring, but for a second, only a second, seemingly pornography obsessed nurse with a higher motive.
The wonderful Cate Blanchett is criminally under used. After her portrayal of “Elizabeth”, in the film of the same name, there should be law passed about actors with her talent being in a film like this for what seems to be less 30 minutes.
Wonderful Italian scenery and beautifully shot, this film could have been financed by Thomas Cook! The brilliant camera work during Tom’s nightmare is astounding, like a shot straight out of a Hitchcock or Welles movie. Watching from a distance and then burrowing right down into the hidden soul of Mr. Ripley.
Review by Giovanni Pistachio, Giovanni can be contacted at: –
© Owned Giovanni Pistachio.