The Talented Mr. Ripley

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I absolutely LOVE this poster. Via

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Directed by: Anthony Minghella
Edited by: Walter Murch
Written by: Patricia Highsmith (novel) & Anthony Minghella (screenplay)
Starring: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Philip Seymour-Hoffman, Cate Blanchett

I went into this movie having no idea what it was about. John had finished watching it a few days before and after hearing the music I decided to watch the whole thing.

The first thing that drew me into this movie where the opening credits.

They reminded me of the opening credits to Hitchcock's Psycho.

The first image we see is Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) but we do not see him in his entirety. We are shown slices of his face, each adding onto the next, until finally we get the whole profile. This introduction sets up the whole tone & premise of the movie.

Tom Ripley is a piano tuner who borrows a Princeton jacket to play the piano at a party. He meets a man, Herbert Greenleaf (James Rebhorn) who thinks that Ripley went to Princeton and knows his son Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) from school. Ripley pretends to know his son and so when Herbert asks Ripley to go to Italy to bring back his son from his partying and shenanigans, Ripley agrees seeing the challenge as an adventure.

When Ripley arrives in Italy he stakes out Dickie and his girlfriend Marge (Gwyenth Paltrow) in order to learn things about him. He has to convince Dickie that they know each other from Princeton (though never having attended) and also be similar to him so that he can get close to him and become friends.

Nothing says stalker like a pair of binoculars. 

The movie plays out like a thriller though in the beginning you're not too sure why. Sure, he doesn't really know Dickie but at least he gets to go to Italy, who wouldn't jump on that opportunity? As the movie plays on though, we start to see that maybe Ripley's pretending isn't all in good fun and we're soon asking how far he will go to pretend to be someone he isn't.

I don't want to give too much away, because then what's the point of watching? Plus, I hate reading reviews that tell me everything before I get there.

The movie, even at a little over two hours, will keep you riveted with the gorgeous Italian scenery and the acting of Damon as a believably confused, introverted, talented Tom Ripley. Plus if you love Jude Law you'll get to see his hairy torso in little swimming shorts.

The characters are believable people, very well written and developed, the directing is great, and the editing is by my favorite editor so I'm probably bias but it's great too. This movie plays out as a more linear film so the editing isn't anything crazy but those opening credits alone just make me love Murch even more. The movie was nominated for five Oscars: Actor in a Supporting Role, Art/Set Direction, Costume, Original Score, and Screenplay.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 Popcorn.

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