"I feel like I've been handed a new life", says Tom Ripley at a crucial turning point of this well-cast, stylishly crafted psychological thriller. And indeed he has, because the devious, impoverished Ripley (played with subtle depth by Matt Damon) has just traded his own identity for that of Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), the playboy heir to a shipping fortune who has become Ripley's model for a life worth living. Having been sent by Dickie's father to retrieve the errant son from Italy, Ripley has smoothly ingratiated himself with Dickie and his lovely, unsuspecting fiancée, Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow). In due course, the sheer evil of Ripley's amoral scheme will be revealed.
Superbly adapted from the acclaimed novel by Patricia Highsmith (also the basis of the acclaimed French version, Purple Noon), The Talented Mr Ripley is writer-director Anthony Minghella's impressive follow-up to his Oscar-winning triumph The English Patient. Recreating late-1950s Italy in exacting detail, the film captures the sensuousness of la dolce vita while developing the fracturing of Ripley's mind as his crimes grow increasingly desperate. And where Hitchcock was necessarily discreet with the homosexual subtext of Highsmith's Strangers on a Train, Minghella brings it out of the closet, increasing the dramatic tension and complexity of Ripley's psychological breakdown. Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Cate Blanchett are excellent in pivotal supporting roles, and the film's final image is utterly effective: Ripley's talents have gone too far, and this study of class distinction, obsession and deadly desire reaches a disturbing yet richly appropriate conclusion. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
United Kingdom released, Blu-Ray/Region B DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Dolby DTS-HD Master Audio ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Cast/Crew Interview(s), Commentary, Interactive Menu, Making Of, Scene Access, Teaser(s), Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: The 1950s. Manhattan lavatory attendant, Tom Ripley, borrows a Princeton jacket to play piano at a garden party. When the wealthy father of a recent Princeton grad chats Tom up, Tom pretends to know the son and is soon offered $1,000 to go to Italy to convince Dickie Greenleaf to return home. In Italy, Tom attaches himself to Dickie and to Marge, Dickie's cultured fiancée, pretending to love jazz and harboring homoerotic hopes as he soaks in luxury. Besides lying, Tom's talents include impressions and forgery, so when the handsome and confident Dickie tires of Tom, dismissing him as a bore, Tom goes to extreme lengths to make Greenleaf's privileges his own. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, Berlin International Film Festival, Edgar Allan Poe Awards, Golden Globes, Oscar Academy Awards, ...The Talented Mr. Ripley ( Eclipse ) ( The Strange Mr. Ripley ) (Blu-Ray)