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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rarity -- a movie ALMOST as good as the book
I think most people would agree that MOST movies-made-from-books don't even come close to the books themselves. Orders of events are changed, minor characters are deleted, even entire sections of the plots are left out for "artistic reasons" (or simply because it costs too much to include them in the film). If you're lucky, you see the movie and THEN read the book;...
Published on 2 Dec 2003 by Jennifer Stevens

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully shot, Law is astonishing, but pretty much misses the point and the second half is lame.
**Spoiler Warning** From the opening montage of Tom Ripley in New York (expertly directed - to contain the lengthy (and largely superfluous) intro to the novel within the title sequence) to the lustrous beaches of an Italy beginning to find new resplendence from post-war decline (and later Rome, San Remo and Venice) this is a film that is glittering with the class and...
Published on 24 May 2011 by ric03


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rarity -- a movie ALMOST as good as the book, 2 Dec 2003
By 
Jennifer Stevens (Richmond, VA USA) - See all my reviews
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I think most people would agree that MOST movies-made-from-books don't even come close to the books themselves. Orders of events are changed, minor characters are deleted, even entire sections of the plots are left out for "artistic reasons" (or simply because it costs too much to include them in the film). If you're lucky, you see the movie and THEN read the book; otherwise, you're left utterly disappointed.
Well, I read "The Talented Mr. Ripley" before seeing it on video. And I was hesitant about seeing the movie, as the book was incredibly rich and very deep, especially in character development. I had huge doubts that the movie could do the book justice. But to my very pleasant surprise, they seemed to have pulled it off somehow.
This movie is actually almost as good as the book -- amazing!!
Matt Damon is absolutely superb as Tom Ripley. He looks like Tom, has his mannerisms, has his voice. Damon is SO successful at portraying Tom Ripley as Highsmith had written of his character in her book: A conniving, pathetic psychopath, who disgusts you but also somehow manages to make you feel sorry for him in the process. A very tough role for any actor, but Damon was excellent.
Likewise, Jude Law is wonderful at portraying the likeable extrovert Dickie Greenleaf -- a rich kid who's lazing away in Italy on Daddy's money, but who still doesn't come across as a selfish snob. Gwyneth Paltrow does a good job as hesitant Marge, who lacks self-confidence and only wants Dickie to reciprocate the devotion she has for him. My only complaint about having Paltrow in this role is that I feel she is too pretty to play Marge, as in the book Marge is a bit more homely. But still, Paltrow gets Marge's personality down pat, which is most important.
The other thing that is pulled off nicely in the movie is the adaptation of the scenery and historical era of the book. The on-location scenes in Italy are breathtaking -- makes you want to be in Italy yourself! Before seeing the movie, I was afraid that the director had chosen to modernize the story, placing it in the latter 20th century. To my surprise he didn't, but instead stayed true to the story's place in the 1950s. This allowed the movie to have that "old" feel that the book also had.
Since the book focused on the characters primarily and the plot secondarily, this movie gets four stars from me. However, I can't give a fifth star because, unfortunately, the movie lacks some very important portions of the plot, which changes the tale a bit. And considering that the book was only 290 pages to begin with, I'm not sure why the moviemakers couldn't have fit as much in as possible.
All in all, this film did what most others in its catagory can't -- do justice to the novel upon which it is based. It's a good movie by itself, but of course, I still recommend the book.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very talented Mr Minghella makes waves not ripples. . ., 31 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This is an absolutely must see film. It is haunting, and very tense. I wasn't sure that Matt Damon was the best actor for this role, but the more I've watched his performance the more I am captivated by his sociopathic portrayal of Ripley. I thought the end sequence with Peter was absolutely blood tingling - and Jack Davenport (from the BBC's This Life) adds marvellous support to a top notch cast. The extras on this DVD are incredible. Minghella's academic commentary is excellent. For example, I wasn't aware that Cate Blanchett's character wasn't in the book, so now I've got to read Patricia Highsmith's novel! And the way Minghella informs how he condensed the first 40 pages of the novel into 4 pages of script, to produce a wonderful prologue to his film, demonstrates his excellence as a screenwriter and director. The cast interviews are worth buying the DVD for alone. Overall, this is an excellent format that truly offers value for money - and Mr Ripley is one of the most haunting films I have seen for years, and can now see time and time again.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars **** CLASSY AND INTELLIGENT ****, 4 Oct 2002
By 
Mr. N. Carnegie (Kirkcaldy, Scotland, UK.) - See all my reviews
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Mistaken for a Princeton graduate whilst wearing a borrowed blazer, the low born New York charmer, Tom Ripley (Matt Damon), is dispatched by rich businessman Herbert Greenleaf (James Rebhorn), to travel first class on an all-expenses-paid mission, to bring his errant young playboy son, Dickie (Jude Law), back to New York from his champagne and party filled life on the Mediterranean. However, on meeting the handsome and charismatic Dickie (and his equally attractive girlfriend), the awestruck Tom falls for his charms and an ambiguous relationship begins. Tom, the social chameleon who has talents for forgery and impersonation, feeling that he cannot enter this world as himself begins to transform his identity, by learning new skills, studying jazz, art, geography and foreign languages. He not only changes his clothes he also changes his character. Meanwhile the innocent and trusting Meredith (Cate Blanchett) who met Tom on his arrival in Europe accepts Tom as an equal because she thinks he is Dickie Greenleaf. But all is not well in the playground of the rich, for Dickie is in turns as unpleasant and rude as he is debonair and charming, and soon he and his rich friends begin to tire of the financially inferior and all too clingy Tom, who has no intention of being cast adrift, for it is his belief that "its better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody"...
The Talented Mr Ripley subtly portrays the hedonistic lifestyle of rich, young Americans in the 1950's. In the movie, Tom is less the casebook amoral psychopath of the novel and more a victim of class in his desire to be like the rich but cruel Dickie and Freddie. The film is, however, anything but simple and only about an hour in does the film become anything approaching an orthodox thriller. You are kept hooked throughout as we guess at Tom's motives..., which is at best ambiguous. We observe the mercurial Dickie toy with his affections, whilst Dickie's girlfriend Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow), aware of Dickie's weaknesses, looks on.
Although fans of the novel may be unhappy with the liberties taken with both the plot and the characters from Patricia Highsmiths novel, most people will agree that Anthony Minghella has done an excellent job in imaginatively and successfully bringing The Talented Mr Ripley to the big screen. Not only does he direct this excellent and very intelligent thriller with a sure and subtle touch but he perfectly captures the beauty of the mediteranean, as the movie moves from one spectacular venue to another; from San Remo to Naples, Rome, and Venice. It also stars a top notch and perfectly cast array of the worlds finest young actors, including Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting), Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare In Love), Jude Law (A.I.), as well as Philip Seymour Hoffman (Happiness) and Cate Blanchette (Elizabeth), all on top form. Damon's Ripley is an odd figure, his cumbersome awkwardness contrasting perfectly with Jude Law's cool and casual arrogance as Dickie Greenleaf, lolling around on his Riviera deck-chair as if the world owes him a living. And, although Matt Damon is truly outstanding, it is Jude Law's Oscar-nominated turn and Hoffman's brilliantly obnoxious performance as an ugly-rich American that come close to stealing the movie.
There are many unforgettable moments, in this beautifully crafted movie that Hitchcock would be proud of, as Tom struggles to maintain his dual identity. More dramatically satisfying than The English Patient, The Talented Mr Ripley is an intelligent film, carefully cast and immaculately performed. Highly recommended this for people who love suspense and prefer to watch movies that come with an IQ!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film. Blu-Ray only so-so., 16 Sep 2013
By 
S. Bracey (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Nothing more really needs to be said about the film itself - it's just a beautiful piece of work. Technically, the Blu-Ray is certainly an improvement over the DVD but don't expect visual revelations. It's not a vintage film - although tries to capture that feeling - and I find the picture quality slightly disappointing. There are ways to get that old feel without compromising the definition (one good example is Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy which perfectly captures that old film stock look with its characteristic muted colour palette). But Ripley is just downright grainy. But don't let that detract from the main point, which shines through - it is just a wonderful movie; beautifully shot with compelling performances and it successfully (for me at least) evokes the time and places in which it is set.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film not for this generation, 26 Nov 2003
By 
Mr. J. N. Windsor (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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I didn't appreciate this film immediately. I needed to watch it about 3 times to realise that it is one of the best films I have ever seen (and I have seen a lot).
I can't help but feel that a film like this is lost on this generation with it's tv-induced, short attention span. This is one to sit back and let the pace take you over like other masterpieces such as "2001" and "koyaanisqatsi".
Beautifully shot scenes, brilliant acting (just look at the cast! - Philip Seymour-Hoffman, Jack Davenport, Gwyneth Paltrow ...), superb soundtrack, but most of all the incredibly deep characterisation make this film a real gem. This film is not even in the same league as Minghella's much acclaimed earlier film "The English Patient".
We are made to empathise with a serial killer and feel sad as we see his tragic life spin out of control.
A film for the more intelligent film-goer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully shot, Law is astonishing, but pretty much misses the point and the second half is lame., 24 May 2011
By 
ric03 (Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
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**Spoiler Warning** From the opening montage of Tom Ripley in New York (expertly directed - to contain the lengthy (and largely superfluous) intro to the novel within the title sequence) to the lustrous beaches of an Italy beginning to find new resplendence from post-war decline (and later Rome, San Remo and Venice) this is a film that is glittering with the class and debauchery of the period. In this way, the depiction of Patricia Highsmith's classic psychological thriller is a fair triumph; however, the source material (as with Highsmith's other works) was about much more than trimmings.

I must first, though, pay tribute to Jude Law - in a sparkling performance - who plays the playboy son of a shipping millionaire, Dickie Greenleaf, with the kind of precision and metrosexual magnetism that I thought he would be unlikely to bring to the screen as I read the novel. His performance is (actually) so spell-binding that the film sags terribly when he departs.

It is difficult to find fault with Matt Damon's (genuine) portrayal of Tom Ripley, for (as I will mention later) he is hampered by some fairly pointless directorial focus. He manages to capture the character from an outsiders perspective (the nervous ticks, the more obvious social faults), but doesn't really get under the skin of Ripley's schizophrenic illness, as Highsmith achieves (with an unnerving accuracy) in the book. In fact, I wasn't that certain watching this whether Ripley was a psychopath or simply someone who accidently commits murder and then decides to assume their identity (this isn't any room for uncertainty in the novel...)

Gyeneth Paltrow also shines as Marge (who -- like Law's Dickie -- brings character to life as you would expect her to be). The trouble is -- unlike Law -- she is also present in the second half of the film, which is where the second major problem comes in.

Though the film largely captures the feel of the novel during the first half (largely due to Law and the fantastic sun-bleached locations) -- and you feel it might be heading towards a decent homage -- it plummets rapidly in the second half. What should have been an paranoid study of Ripley's mental decline (swinging helplessly between fits of manic exuberance and reclusion) is simply a formulaic (and fairly contrived) 90s Hollywood thriller, which bears less and less resemblance to its inspired source material.

Throughout, I was disapointed that so many small details of the plot had been altered (virtually every few seconds you think: "that wasn't in the novel!"), but later on (with new characters changing the plot significantly, and the realisation that Ripley wasn't going to be explored in anything like the depth he needed to be), I just ended up becoming annoyed (don't film a classic novel and then fool everybody into thinking you are going to actually do it justice only for it to turn into every other film halfway through -- the book didn't really fully come alive until the point where this film dies...)

I can see why people enjoy this film: it is original (compared to most "serial killer" films). It is stylishly set up and well-acted. It just isn't a patch on the novel, though, and (in pointlessly changing so much/leaving out so many important themes) doesn't even really make an effort to be (it is telling that Damon wished afterward that they could film it again using the original plot).

Watch Hitchcock's interpretation of Strangers On A Train if you want to see a better (though still not perfect) translation of Highsmith's unique paranoia on screen. Better still, just read her novels: they are light years better plotted than something like this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping and enthralling, 22 Feb 2005
when i saw a trailer for this film in the cinema i thought it looked very good, however it was one of those films i never quite got around to seeing. when the recent torrent of jude law films were released i was very impressed by the quality of his acting and, of course his good looks. this was just the push i needed to buy Ripley.
the film is every bit as good as id imagined. Damon steals the show away from anyone else, somehow managing to create a character who you can empathise with despite all the terrible things that he does. his mixture of innocence and passion for the new life he has found makes him a truely likeable characer, and i suprised myself by willing him to not get caught and wishing for his happiness. Law also lived up to my very high expectations of him, he creates a character based on a person that everyone knows, with so much fun and charisma. the kind of person that everyone wants to be best friends with. he also manges the near impossible task of making even Matt Damon look ugly! the thing i liked most about the characterisation of both characters was the way in which they should really both have been disliked, but somehow it was impossible to do so. paltrow is also good, but not up to the standard of either of the male leads. far more impressive is the extremely tallented Blanchette, who shows us a complex character and tells us some more about Ripley's personality
the scenery is also worth a mention. as someone who had the best holiday of thier life in venice, the various itallian cities we see offer a real feel of luxury and escapism, and the beauty of it only makes laws character look more at home and damon's character more of an outsider. the film has real energy throughout a lot of it, with jazz being a large part of the soundtrack and giving the oppurtunity for the wonderful scene in which Dickie takes Tom to a Jazz club.
i really enjoyed this film and felt it really challenged and confused me with its perceptions of right and wrong and good and bad characters. it advocates that nothing is black and white.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars when boys play, why do they play at killing each other?, 30 Jun 2002
The Talented Mr. Ripley reminded me of nothing quite so much as Ridley Scott's Hannibal. That in itself is no bad thing, for Hannibal is a terrific piece of cinema, and in any case The Talented Mr. Ripley predates Hannibal by a couple of years, and it is certainly true that Hannibal borrows much from Mr. Ripley in terms of style - and for that matter, a number of the set pieces. The Opera scene; the coffee emporia, the perfume; the high-end dolce vita, counterpointed against the subject's grisly deeds - these hallmarks of Hannibal all flow thickly through Mr. Ripley.
Where Ridley Scott was canny was in upgrading the experience from coach to first class - Hannibal's Florence is an altogether more sophisticated, more lushly shot, and better understood rendition of what is so alluring to outsiders about Italy. Minghella tends to punt for the familiar, picture postcard scenes, relying on obvious tourist locations (Spanish Steps, Trevisi Fountain etc) but for all that fails to capture Italy with anything like the same wit or sophistication.
The films works very well fundamentally as a richly shot (if overlong) psychological thriller - in places it is as tense as to be almost un-watchable - but I'm not sure what it achieves at a more substantial level. In fact, I had much the same reaction to The English Patient: Beautiful to look at, sweeping and epic; all very brooding and meaningful, but for what?
I would ask the same question here. Minghella's picture has enough style and is well enough acted and directed to raise the expectation that something significant is afoot, but despite much promise, nothing (other than the superficial thriller) materialises. For example, the Opera (and Ripley's reaction to it) seems to be building to a point of some weight, but the point is never ultimately made. Perhaps, I'll grant you, I just didn't get it - but on first viewing I was left creasing my brow. Similarly, the conclusion to the film, while carefully (painstakingly, almost) constructed, ends up being confusing and more than a little, well, inconclusive. Again, it was as if the film were on the way to the point, but never quite made it.
This isn't to say Minghella doesn't try: a number of figurative devices recur during the film, but mostly they are (or their execution is) clumsy: swinging, fractured mirrors, shadows and lighting dancing on faces, and an almost hammy explosion of disturbed pigeons every time Ripley crosses a square. (Hannibal borrowed this device too, but put it to much eerier effect).
These objections shouldn't detract from the fact that Mr. Ripley is a very clever, tense thriller. Jude Law turns in a terrific performance, and Gwyneth Paltrow gives an intelligent, understated, underrated portrayal of the long suffering cuckold. And while I can't bring myself to like Matt Damon, you have to admire his technical skill as an actor.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite film ever!! *yay* Jack Davenport *hops madly*, 26 Sep 2003
By 
When I was first told about this film I thought that it sounded boring, like any run of the mill thriller. However, a few weeks after I was given it I decided to watch it just so I could say I had seen it. I watched it, then watched it again, and again and again because I never got tired of it. It is a superb, finely-crafted psychological thriller, which keeps you riveted as to what Tom Ripley will do next, and also makes you think a lot about how far into madness he is sinking. Each of the characters is played brilliantly by their actors and actresses, with stunning performances from all, whether you hate the actual character or not. I hate Meredith (grr...) but she is played exceedingly well by Cate Blanchett.
The ending is amazing, and leaves you sitting there shaking the TV yelling "NO!!! That can't be the end dammit!! Keep playing keep playing!!" I won't give the ending away but... *sniff*
The DVD extras are good too, the interviews show that the actors understood their roles, but my only quibble is PETER. Why isn't he mentioned? He is in it about the same amount as Meredith is, but he isn't mentioned at all, which I think is a bit odd since he is a fairly important character. Maybe I only think this because I am a big fan of Tom Ripley and Peter Smith-Kingsley... and of Jack Davenport.
To conclude, this is a brilliant movie. Truly well-crafted. But I hasten to caution you - not everyone will like this - this is a movie for people who like detail in films and like following very subtle mood changes and how they progress towards full-out madness. Some people just won't "get" this film and therefore will find it boring. BUT out of the nine of my friends who I know have watched this so far, three are really obsessed (as I am), five of them really liked it (and three of those five bought it after seeing it at my house), and only one person didn't like it and she doesn't like any movies except Star Wars. So most people will like this film, and if you don't maybe you need to watch it again and pay more attention - the greatness lies in the detail.
My favourite film of all time!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A disturbing portrait of a tortured soul., 9 Aug 2000
By 
Deborah Allin "by the deep blue sea" (Mollymook, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This is an extremely disturbing movie which has the power to awaken complex emotional responses painting as it does a portrait of one individuals tortured quest for a sense of love, identity and belonging, against a backdrop of social privilege, class distinction and double standards.
Try as I could, I couldn't help empathising with the 'talented' Tom Ripley - a chameleon whose cunning assumption of a false identity masks a void of emptiness, loneliness and alienation that deepens with each twist and turn of the plot.
The tone of the movie is edgy and unsettling echoing Ripley's increasing fragmentation as the desperation of his desire and obsession erupts in a series of shattering climaxes and spirals out of his control.
The final scenes haunted me long after the credits rolled - the aching image of a man trapped securely in prison of inpenetrable emotional isolation - cast adrift from any possiblity of human redemption. The idealist in me hoped for a different conclusion.
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The Talented Mr Ripley [DVD]
The Talented Mr Ripley [DVD] by Matt Damon (DVD - 2011)
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