Friday, December 11, 2015

Movie Review: "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (1999)

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Movie"The Talented Mr. Ripley"
Director: Anthony Minghella
Year: 1999
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 19 minutes

At a party, a young working class man named Tom Ripley (Matt Damon), thanks to a borrowed jacket, is mistaken for a university man and a classmate of wealthy playboy Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law). Dickie's father Herbert (James Rebhorn) wants his son to take life more seriously and hires Tom, thinking he and Dickie are old school friends, to go to Italy and convince Dickie to come home. When Tom meets Dickie for the first time in Italy, they do become friends as Dickie gives Tom a taste of the high life. As Dickie becomes bored  with Tom's friendship and starts to push him away, Tom takes extreme measures to maintain his new level of comfort.  

"The Talented Mr Ripley" is a dark drama about a smart, resourceful young man named Tom Ripley, portrayed by Matt Damon. He is completely able to capture this character's obsessive attitude quite effectively and rather convincingly. On the surface, he appears friendly, but you can tell that deep down inside, he lacks a certain emotional understanding and has both selfish and sociopathic tendencies. Mr. Ripley seems to start to fall romantically in love with Dickie Greenleaf, played by Jude Law, though he attempts to hide it. Dickie is no angel himself, and in someways, he uses Tom like a child would use a new toy. He gives Tom an overabundance of attention as if they are truly best friends, until he gets bored with him and begins to ignore him, pushing him to the side and discarding him like trash. Once this happens, all the grand promises Dickie made about where they would go and the things they would do together become empty and hollow, and this does not sit well with Tom. Since Dickie is wealthy and can move on with very little consequence or worry, he can discard whatever or whomever he likes. For a guy like Tom, who grew up poor, being given a heavy dose of the high life is exactly what he feels he always needed and he doesn't let go of Dickie so easily. Tom is willing to do anything to hang onto the life he has become so accustomed to in just a short amount of time, even unspeakable acts like fraud or even worse, murder. He deals with accusations from a real schoolmate of Dickie's named Freddie Mills, played by the always fantastic Philip Seymour Hoffman. Freddie looks down on Tom because of where he comes from and is suspicious of his intentions. The tension you feel between Tom and Freddie is palpable and thick, and you can really feel it build in the scenes they share. Together on screen, Damon and Hoffman are a force to be reckoned with. In fact, there is tons of tension in this film, period, but mainly whenever Damon interacts with any of the characters. We become aware early on that, in a matter of seconds, it could all go completely wrong and something explosive may happen.

We're not sure why we resisted watching this film for so long, but it is definitely one of the better movies by Anthony Minghella. He really does an expert job of portraying Tom Ripley one way at first, but then slowly segues into madness and shows how his personality shifts from shy nice guy to committed, jealous psycho. Of course, this shift would be nothing if it weren't for some outstanding acting. From Matt Damon to Gwyneth Paltrow, every single actor in this film gives it their all to fit a delicate puzzle of mystery, intrigue, and unpredictability. The ending is wonderful, too! Though a bit long and a little dragging atimes, this is a very solid dramatic thriller and is most certainly worth a watch.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 83%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Cutie and the Boxer"

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