Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Movie Name: The Talented Mr. Ripley
Year of Release: 1999
Director: Anthony Minghella
Stars: Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Davenport, James Rebhorn, Sergio Rubini, Celia Weston, Philip Baker Hall
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis & Review:
After the huge success of "The English Patient", director Anthony Minghella returned to the screens with another adaptation of a great book, this time around Patricia Highsmith's "The Talented Mr. Ripley". The film focuses on Tom Ripley, a young man who is struggling to make ends meet in New York in the 1950s. While playing piano at a cocktail party he is mistaken for someone else, and suddenly finds himself going to Italy to retrieve the son of a millionaire. Upon his arrival in Italy, Tom ingratiates himself into the lives of Dickie Greenleaf and his fiancee Marge Sherwood, under the pretense he is a Jazz lover. Ripley quickly becomes accustomed to a life of luxury, but starts wearing thin on Greenleaf's patience - while on a boat trip he confides in Ripley he doesn't really want to keep engaged in that friendship, since he's marrying Marge. This causes a chain reaction from Ripley who will stop at nothing to retain what he has.
The book from Patricia Highsmith had been adapted to the screen in 1960 by Rene Clair, under the title "Purple Noon/Plein Soleil" featuring Alain Delon as Tom Ripley, however Anthony Minghella's version went back to the original source, and flushed out more Ripley's homosexuality, something that the previous version had only hinted at. The film is wonderfully shot and perfectly captures the sunny, gorgeous Italy of the 1950s (bringing to mind the films of Hitchcock and William Wyler), with Jude Law in particular capturing the debonair style and air of privilege from his character. Matt Damon deftly carries the lead character, the amoral and ruthless Tom Ripley, for whom nothing is off limits in achieving what he's after - nothing and no one stands in his way. These performances are almost out-shined by the brief and supporting turns by Cate Blanchett and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Anthony Minghella again succeeds in breathing life to a literary work of prestige, building a film that is elegant, engaging, where the sheer talent of his team brings to life a story that is dark, yet perfectly balanced. A very good film worth watching.