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The Talented Mr. Ripley

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Talented Mr. Ripley

Starring: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow
Director: Anthony Minghella
Rated: R
RunTime: 139 Minutes
Release Date: December 1999
Genres: Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Jack Davenport, Caterina Deregibus, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Rebhorn

Review by Susan Granger
4 stars out of 4

"I always thought it would be better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody," says Matt Damon as the chameleon-like Tom Ripley in Anthony Minghella's creepy, star-studded thriller adapted from Patricia Highsmith's novel. Tom Ripley's a leech, an amoral outsider, obsessed with the hedonistic la dolce vida of Dickie Greenleaf, a charming rogue, brilliantly played by Jude Law, whom he's sent to bring home from Italy: "You're the brother I never had. I'm the brother you never had." Frustrated, Ripley not only covets Dickie's privileged lifestyle, he wants to be Dickie, so much that his brutal killer instincts take over. Ripley's so diabolically clever, so adept at imitation and fabrication that he fools everyone except Dickie's girl-friend - that's Gwyneth Paltrow, a bland Grace Kelly clone, which is quite appropriate since the story's set in the '50s, when social distinction and class status meant everything to this detached group of people. Also involved in this spellbinding, sexually ambiguous, melodramatic intrigue are Philip Seymour Hoffman, as Dickie's snotty, suspicious friend, and Cate Blanchett, as a rebellious socialite who believes Tom's ruse. (I'm curious: what if Blanchett had exchanged roles with Paltrow?) After The English Patient, Anthony Minghella does not disappoint with this visual portrait of a pathological liar. John Seale's cinematography is stunning - from the shimmering waters of the Mediterranean to the twisting, cobbled alleys of Italy, particularly the eerie final shot in which a mirrored Ripley is reflected in a subtle myriad of distorted identities. Gabriel Yared's music, primarily period jazz, truly complements the story. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, The Talented Mr. Ripley is a complex, provocative, potent 10. It's frightening yet fascinating.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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