The Talented Mr. Ripley (film)

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The Talented Mr. Ripley
Talented mr ripley.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Anthony Minghella
Produced by William Horberg
Tom Sternberg
Screenplay by Anthony Minghella
Based on The Talented Mr. Ripley 
by Patricia Highsmith
Starring Matt Damon
Gwyneth Paltrow
Jude Law
Cate Blanchett
Music by Gabriel Yared
Cinematography John Seale
Edited by Walter Murch
Distributed by Paramount Pictures (US)
Miramax Films (Worldwide)
Release date(s)
  • December 12, 1999 (1999-12-12) (Fox Bruin Theater)
  • December 25, 1999 (1999-12-25) (United States)
Running time 138 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[1]
Box office $128,798,265[1]

The Talented Mr. Ripley is a 1999 American psychological thriller written for the screen and directed by Anthony Minghella. An adaptation of the 1955 Patricia Highsmith novel of the same name, the film stars Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf and Gwyneth Paltrow as Marge Sherwood.

The novel was previously filmed as Plein Soleil in 1960.

Plot[edit]

Tom Ripley is a young sociopath[2] struggling to make a living in 1950s New York City using his "talents"—forgery, lying and impersonation. While working at a party, he is approached by the wealthy shipbuilder Herbert Greenleaf, who believes that Ripley went to Princeton with his son, Dickie. Greenleaf recruits Ripley to travel to Italy to persuade Dickie to return home to the United States, for which he will pay Ripley $1,000. Ripley accepts the proposal, although he did not attend Princeton and has never even met Dickie.

Shortly after his arrival in Italy, Ripley concocts an accidental meeting on the beach with Dickie and his fiancée, Marge Sherwood, and quickly insinuates himself into their lives under the pretext of being a fellow jazz lover. On one of their jaunts, Dickie and Ripley meet Dickie's friend Freddie Miles, who treats Ripley with barely concealed contempt.

A local girl, whom Dickie had made pregnant, drowns herself when he refuses to help her financially. Ripley secretly witnesses their final encounter. Dickie begins to tire of Ripley, resenting his constant presence and suffocating dependence. Ripley's own feelings are complicated by his desire to maintain the opulent lifestyle Dickie has afforded him, and by his growing sexual obsession with his new friend.

As a gesture to Ripley, Dickie invites Ripley to sail with him for a last trip to San Remo. Whilst out to sea together, Ripley starts an argument when he confronts Dickie about his behaviour, and a fight ensues when Ripley strikes Dickie with an oar in a fit of rage. Ripley beats Dickie to death with the oar and, to conceal the murder, scuttles the boat with Dickie's body before swimming ashore.

When the hotel concierge mistakes him for Dickie, Ripley realizes he can assume Dickie's identity. He forges Dickie's signature, modifies his passport and begins living off the allowance provided by Herbert Greenleaf. He uses Dickie's typewriter to communicate with Marge, making her believe that Dickie has deserted her. He checks into two separate hotels as himself and as Dickie, passing messages between them via the hotel staff to provide the illusion that Dickie is still alive.

Ripley rents an expensive apartment in Rome and spends a lonely Christmas buying expensive presents for himself. Freddie visits, expecting to find Dickie, and is immediately suspicious of Ripley as the apartment is not furnished in Dickie's style, while Ripley appears to have copied Dickie's dress and manner perfectly. On his way out, Freddie meets the landlady, who refers to Ripley as "Signor Greenleaf". Freddie goes back to confront him, but Ripley ambushes and murders him, then disposes of the body.

As a result, Ripley's existence becomes a cat-and-mouse game with the Italian police and Dickie's friends. His predicament is complicated by the presence of Meredith Logue, an heiress he met upon his arrival in Italy and to whom he had introduced himself as Dickie. Ripley clears himself by forging a suicide note addressed to Ripley in Dickie's name, then moves to Venice. Marge suspects Ripley's involvement in Dickie's death and confronts him after finding Dickie's rings in Ripley's apartment. Ripley is seemingly about to murder her but is interrupted when Peter Smith-Kingsley, a mutual friend, enters the apartment.

Though trusted by Dickie's father, Ripley is disquieted when Mr. Greenleaf hires American private detective Alvin MacCarron to carry out a thorough check. However, MacCarron reveals to Ripley that Mr. Greenleaf has ordered the investigation be dropped and intends giving Ripley a substantial portion of Dickie's income, with the understanding that certain sordid details about his son's past not be revealed. Marge is dismayed at the resolution, again accusing Ripley before being taken away by Greenleaf and MacCarron.

Now lovers, Ripley and Peter go on a cruise together, only to discover that Meredith is also on board. As Ripley attempts to placate Meredith with a kiss, Ripley realizes Peter has witnessed the scene, complicating the situation in that he cannot prevent Peter from discovering that he has been passing himself off as Dickie since Peter and Meredith know each other and would certainly be meeting on the cruise. He cannot solve this dilemma by murdering Meredith, because she is accompanied by her family. Ripley sobs as he strangles Peter in his bed then returns to his own cabin, where he sits alone.

Cast[edit]

Release[edit]

Reception[edit]

Critical reaction was positive, and the film has a rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes.[3]

Roger Ebert gave the film four-out-of-four stars, calling it "an intelligent thriller" that is "insidious in the way it leads us to identify with Tom Ripley ... He's a monster, but we want him to get away with it".[4] In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin praised Law's performance: "This is a star-making role for the preternaturally talented English actor Jude Law. Beyond being devastatingly good-looking, Mr. Law gives Dickie the manic, teasing powers of manipulation that make him ardently courted by every man or woman he knows".[5] Entertainment Weekly gave the film an "A-" rating, and Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote: "Damon is at once an obvious choice for the part and a hard sell to audiences soothed by his amiable boyishness ... the facade works surprisingly well when Damon holds that gleaming smile just a few seconds too long, his Eagle Scout eyes fixed just a blink more than the calm gaze of any non-murdering young man. And in that opacity we see horror".[6]

Charlotte O'Sullivan of Sight and Sound wrote, "A tense, troubling thriller, marred only by problems of pacing (the middle section drags) and some implausible characterisation (Meredith's obsession with Ripley never convinces), it's full of vivid, miserable life".[7] Time named it one of the ten best films of the year and called it a "devious twist on the Patricia Highsmith crime novel".[8] James Berardinelli gave the film two and a half stars out of four, calling it "a solid adaptation" that "will hold a viewer's attention", but criticized "Damon's weak performance" and "a running time that's about 15 minutes too long."[9] Berardinelli compared the film unfavorably with the previous adaptation, Purple Noon, which he gave four stars.[10] He wrote, "The remake went back to the source material, Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley. The result, while arguably truer to the events of Highsmith's book, is vastly inferior. To say it suffers by comparison to Purple Noon is an understatement. Almost every aspect of René Clément's 1960 motion picture is superior to that of Minghella's 1999 version, from the cinematography to the acting to the screenplay. Matt Damon might make a credible Tom Ripley, but only for those who never experienced Alain Delon's portrayal."[11]

In his review for The New York Observer, Andrew Sarris wrote, "On balance, The Talented Mr. Ripley is worth seeing more for its undeniably delightful journey than its final destination. Perhaps wall-to-wall amorality and triumphant evil leave too sour an aftertaste even for the most sophisticated anti-Hollywood palate".[12] In his review for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw wrote, "The Talented Mr. Ripley begins as an ingenious exposition of the great truth about charming people having something to hide: namely, their utter reliance on others. It ends up as a dismayingly unthrilling thriller and bafflingly unconvincing character study".[13] In her review for the Village Voice, Amy Taubin criticized Minghella as a "would-be art film director who never takes his eye off the box office, doesn't allow himself to become embroiled in such complexity. He turns The Talented Mr. Ripley into a splashy tourist trap of a movie. The effect is rather like reading The National Enquirer in a café overlooking the Adriatic".[14] Damon was apparently unhappy with the film's departures from Highsmith's novel, telling an interviewer shortly after the film was released, "I'd like to make the whole film all over again with the same cast and same title but make it completely like the book."[15]

Awards[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result
1999 Academy Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Jude Law Nominated
Best Art Direction Roy Walker (Art director)
Bruno Cesari (Set decorator)
Nominated
Best Costume Design Ann Roth
Gary Jones
Nominated
Best Original Score Gabriel Yared Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Anthony Minghella Nominated
2000 BAFTA Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Jude Law Won
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Cate Blanchett Nominated
Best Film Music Gabriel Yared Nominated
Best Cinematography John Seale Nominated
Best Film William Horberg
Tom Sternberg
Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Direction Nominated
2000 Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear Anthony Minghella Nominated
2000 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Composer Gabriel Yared Won
2000 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Cinematography John Seale Nominated
2001 Empire Awards Best British Actor Jude Law Nominated
2000 Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture – Drama Nominated
Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Matt Damon Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Jude Law Nominated
Best Director Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Original Score Gabriel Yared Nominated
2000 Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards Best Actor Matt Damon Nominated
Best Cinematography John Seale Nominated
Best Director Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Film Nominated
Best Score Gabriel Yared Nominated
Best Screenplay Anthony Minghella Nominated
2000 London Film Critics Circle Awards British Screenwriter of the Year Anthony Minghella Nominated
British Supporting Actor of the Year Jude Law Nominated
2000 MTV Movie Awards Best Musical Sequence Matt Damon
Gwyneth Paltrow
Jude Law
Nominated
Best Villain Matt Damon Nominated
2000 National Board of Review Awards Best Director Anthony Minghella Won
Best Supporting Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman Won
Top Ten Films
2000 Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Anthony Minghella Nominated
1999 Satellite Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Drama Jude Law Nominated
Best Cinematography John Seale Nominated
Best Director Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Editing Walter Murch Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Anthony Minghella Nominated
2000 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie – Drama Nominated
Choice Movie Actor – Drama Matt Damon Nominated
Choice Movie Breakout Performance Jude Law Nominated
Choice Movie Liar Matt Damon Nominated
2000 Writers Guild of America Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Anthony Minghella Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999). Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  2. ^ Leistedt, Samuel J.; Linkowski, Paul (January 2014). "Psychopathy and the Cinema: Fact or Fiction?". Journal of Forensic Sciences (American Academy of Forensic Sciences) 59 (1): 167–174. doi:10.1111/1556-4029.12359. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  3. ^ "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger (1999-12-24). "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  5. ^ Maslin, Janet (1999-12-24). "Stealing a New Life, Carnal, Glamorous And Worth the Price". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  6. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (2000-01-07). "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  7. ^ O'Sullivan, Charlotte (March 2000). "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Sight and Sound. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  8. ^ "The Best Cinema of 1999". Time. March 2000. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  9. ^ "The Talented Mr. Ripley - A Film Review by James Berardinelli". ReelViews.net. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  10. ^ "Purple Noon (Plein Soleil) - A Film Review by James Berardinelli". ReelViews.net. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  11. ^ "James Berardinelli Top 100: #86: Purple Noon". ReelViews.net. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  12. ^ Sarris, Andrew (1999-12-26). "The Year at the Movies: Overlong, Overambitious". The New York Observer. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  13. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (2000-02-25). "The Talented Mr. Ripley". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  14. ^ Taubin, Amy (1999-12-21). "From Riches to Rags: Ugly Americans and Plucky Irish". Village Voice. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  15. ^ "Ripley: my part in his downfall - Profiles, People". The Independent. 2000-02-18. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 

External links[edit]