The Talented Mr. Ripley
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Psychological
Rating: 4 out 5 Stars
“The fake is of far greater value. In its deliberate attempt to be real, it’s more real than the real thing.” Deishu Kaiki
Insecurity. It is an ugly thing that weeds its way into every facet your existence. It causes you to doubt yourself and question every thought and decision you’ve made. Sometimes, it is better to just become someone else.
The Talented Mr. Ripley is a tale of a man who would rather be anyone, except himself. Anthony Minghella directs it with such precision and attention to detail. It is a phenomenally crafted psychological thriller with enough intelligence to cause you to think.
Matt Damon stars as the titular Mr. Ripley, a young con artist in 1950’s New York. He makes a living forging signature and impersonating others. One day at a restaurant, a wealthy shipbuilder mistakes him for one of his son’s, Dickie, college friends. Ripley is recruited to visit Italy to persuade Dickie to return to America.
Firstly, the acting is superb, especially on Matt Damon’s behalf. He convincingly portrays Ripley as an insecure, manipulative and cunning sociopath. He adds subtle nuances to a character with body language and facial expression. Ripley is a bad man, but we can’t help but hope for him to get away in the end. This is truly his best role to date. Jude Law is no slouch either. As Dickie, he shows how self, crude and downright arrogant he can be at certain points. Gywneth Paltrow gives a tolerable performance.
The plot is delicately strung along with many twists and turns that leave the viewer on edge. Every development sinks in slowly; it is as if you are trapped in quicksand. It doesn’t rely on violence to engage the viewer; rather it focuses on the characters and their interactions. Every interaction is meaningful as it adds a new layer to the characters.
The cinematography is breathtaking. There are many beautiful canvas shots of Italy. There were some striking pictures of the ocean as well. The lighting is also noteworthy as many of the sunset scenes were captivating and would leave you with a warm feeling. The costume design is very sleek and stylish. It captures the hustle and bustle of the 1950’s and adds to the atmosphere of the era.
The Talented Mr. Ripley is a look at human weakness. It is our feelings of insecurity viewed through the lens of a microscope. It is a gripping psychological thriller that challenges the mind and makes you wonder if you are similar to Ripley on any level. Aside from some pacing issues during the middle, I can see this is a great film. I wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone.