An unwelcome visit from a former criminal protégé offers Ripley his chance for revenge. Reeves (Ray Winstone) has eveolved from a small-time thug into a powerful underworld figure and has now come back to ask his one-time mentor for help. The Russian mafia is moving in on his turf in Berlin and Reeves needs someone completely unconnected with criminal circles to assassinate a brutal Moscow gang boss. Ripley declines to take on the job himself but suggests an ideal candidate: a dying man with little to lose and an urgent need to secure the financial security of his wife, Sarah (Lena Headley) and young son
Director Liliana Cavani gives us an intelligent, elegant film, featuring an older Tom Ripley (John Malkovich). He lives in the Italian countryside in a mansion with his female lover (an adaption from the book), a pianist. When insulted by innocent and terminally ill loving husband and father, Jonathan Trevanny (Dougray Scott), Ripley is all to pleased but to help out an old colleage, Reeves (Ray Winstone) in using Trevanny in his place as an assassin.
Ripley's Game, through it's suave, efficient, handsome demeanour, is also emotional. In some ways the film is a journey of empathy for both Ripley and the terminally ill Trevanny. The film is ultimately the corruption of an innocent man but at the same time a deep character study of Tom Ripley and his motives for what he does. It is a film that is open to interpretation and there are many ways to see Ripley's character, a fact which makes the film so good. Once the credits roll and you think about the film, you begin to appreciate the numerous ways of looking at Ripley's game.
The performances are what make the film. Dougray Scott will provoke your sympathy with his character and gives a very human performance, working his emotions very well. John Malkovich, though, is the main tool of the film; without him, Ripley's Game would not be what it is; so in many senses, it is very much Malkovich's film and he will not fail to mesmerise the viewer in his performance of a man who is a total enigma, lacks emotion, kills, deceives people, but is also very likeable. I find it masterful that Malkovich is able to bring such a likeable quality to his character, who is essentially a psycopath ... but a highly intellectual and cultured one.
Aside from the acting, Ripley's Game boasts atmosphere, whether it be tense, sophisticated, or chilling. Adding a rich taste to some of the chilling sequences are classical/vocal pieces, evoking either dark wit or even emotion. It neatly cuts us atmosphere in several forms and puts it on a china plate, just like Ripley would want. It is also a very cultured film; the art, the wine, the medieval, quaint and idyllic Italian town, Ripley's beret and bike ... it even pins that eastern-feel of urban Berlin and the claustrophobia of trains.
Where Ripley's Game falls short, however is, although the script is a strong, moralistic one, full of sharp dialogue, without Malkovich it wouldn't be the same. Ripley's Game only other con is the fact that it could pass for a TV, 9 o'clock thriller/drama. Although it is cinematic, there is something strange that makes it sometimes look like it was filmed for TV.
Intelligent, cultured, enigmatic, moralistic - quite a lot like the character Tom Ripley himself. Although it could pass for a TV drama, it'd still be a damn good one.
This product's forum
Active discussions in related forums
Search Customer Discussions