Tom Ripley is a charismatic sociopath who makes his way in mid-’50s New York as a rest room attendant and pianist. His skill however is in impersonating other people, forging handwriting and running second-rate scams. Unhappy with his own life, he kills and takes on the persona of a playboy.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
The movie dazzled the three of us, overwhelming all possible worries. The radiant, ominous fantasy of it, the elegance, the chill of horror and sadness. My mother, my grandmother, and I agreed it was a new classic; we had swooned together, at last.
There’s a certain kind of sunshine that kisses everything with gold. And Anthony Minghella’s slick adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith thriller captures it perfectly – that gilded easy privilege of the in-crowd, slumming it during a long, languid summer on the Italian coast.
Writer-director Anthony Minghella and critic Frank Rich, both sounding like ventriloquist’s dummies for Miramax’s publicity department, touted this as an uncommercial movie that says something profound about the 90s. Yet their adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel is commercial to the core.
As someone else pointed out, Gwyneth Paltrow did not ruin this movie. She's a nothing person and so she makes excellent arm candy. My intense jealousy of Jude Law being almost the perfectly beautiful arrogant human specimen caused my hatred of him to skyrocket. I don't know what it is about Matt Damon, but he's got the talent, and the ability not to be hated upon. He got the character better than Malkovich.
Minghella's best film. Goes beyond the thematically limiting nature of sexuality to capture a very true and vulnerable heart. Even as you morally deplore Ripley's acts of violence you still understand the very raw and wounded psyche they stem from. Ripley is damned, but in the darkness Minghella shows you his twisted soul. This film is a black work of art by a filmmaker, ironically, finding his moment in the sun.
This is comfort food for me. Jude Law is extraordinary and Damon does creepy scary as well as anyone I've seen but the true gem here is Philip Seymour Hoffman. His interrogation of Ripley is one of the most awesome and menacing scenes in cinema.
Minghell's film is far better than René Clément's "Plein Soleil" from 1960. Mat Damon gives an exceptional character study of Tom Ripley, especially when he learns to copy Dickie Greenleaf step by step. Also great is the idea to introduce a second female main character (which can't be found in Highsmith’s novel) as means to create some tense situations and the climax at the opera house.