The Talented Mr. Ripley Reviews
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". 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". 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". 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". Time named it one of the ten best films of the year and called it a "devious twist on the Patricia Highsmith crime novel". 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." Berardinelli compared the film unfavorably with the previous adaptation, Purple Noon, which he gave four stars. 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." 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". 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". 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". 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."
I re-saw "The Talented Mr. Ripley" first of all due to the fact that I traveled to Italy and the area of Neaples this summer so I wanted to get that lovely 50s feeling of Italy with me and second of all I hadn´t seen it for many years. The story based on Patricia Highsmith character has moments for sure, but I think that Anthony Minghella doesn´t manage to keep the tension up throughout the film. It drags at some point and the story goes in a halt and I am not fully convinced when it comes to the editing. Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Philip Seymour Hoffman all work very well in their roles and they truly add life to the film. The characterisation is well made. Damon has been criticized for being dull in his performance, which he is quite normally if you ask me, but that does actually work here. The transformation of Tom to becoming a full blown sociopath works in my book, even if Minghella is maybe a bit too subtle in that communication. The film is created in a way that you feel some sort of sympathy for Tom, despite his actions, while it´s harder to like any of the other characters. The switch of not liking the antagonist and cheering for the protagonist has been turned around, which adds to the films many layers. And I do like that Minghella put great use of stunning Italian locations that adds so much to the film. It wasn´t as good as it was when I saw it the first time when it came out, but it still holds up as a pretty solid thriller.
Trivia: "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is based on a novel with the same name by Patricia Highsmith. There are four more novels named "Ripley Underground," "Ripley's Game," "The Boy Who Followed Ripley," and "Ripley Under Water."
Beautifully shot and directed. PSH and Cate Blanchett were underutilized. I wish they were in every goddamn scene of this film, even if it made no sense.