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"I feel like I've been handed a new life," says Tom Ripley at a crucial turning point of this well-cast, stylishly crafted psychological thriller. And indeed he has, because the devious, impoverished Ripley (played with subtle depth by Matt Damon) has just traded his own identity for that of Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), the playboy heir to a shipping fortune who has become Ripley's model for a life worth living. Having been sent by Dickie's father to retrieve the errant son from Italy, Ripley has smoothly ingratiated himself with Dickey and his lovely, unsuspecting fiancée, Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow). In due course, the sheer evil of Ripley's amoral scheme will be revealed.

Superbly adapted from the acclaimed novel by Patricia Highsmith (also the basis of the acclaimed French version, Purple Noon), The Talented Mr. Ripley is writer-director Anthony Minghella's impressive follow-up to his Oscar-winning triumph The English Patient. Re-creating late-1950s Italy in exacting detail, the film captures the sensuousness of la dolce vita while suspensefully developing the fracturing of Ripley's mind as his crimes grow increasingly desperate. And where Hitchcock was necessarily discreet with the homosexual subtext of Highsmith's Strangers on a Train, Minghella brings it out of the closet, increasing the dramatic tension and complexity of Ripley's psychological breakdown. Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Cate Blanchett are excellent in pivotal supporting roles, and the film's final image is utterly effective: Ripley's talents have gone too far, and this study of class distinction, obsession, and deadly desire reaches a disturbing yet richly appropriate conclusion. --Jeff Shannon

The Talented Mr. Ripley is a 1999 American film directed by Anthony Minghella. It is an adaptation of the 1955 novel by Patricia Highsmith, which was previously filmed as Plein Soleil (Purple Noon, 1960).
The film starred Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, Gwyneth Paltrow as Marge Sherwood, Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf, Cate Blanchett as Meredith Logue (a character created for the film), Philip Seymour Hoffman as Freddie Miles, Jack Davenport as Peter Smith-Kingsley (a character expanded for the film), and James Rebhorn as Herbert Greenleaf.
It was filmed mainly in Italy with landmarks in the cities of Rome and Venice being used as a backdrop for the narrative. An opera scene features the duel between Lensky and Onegin from Eugene Onegin.
Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is a young man struggling to make a living in 1950s New York City. While working at a party, playing the piano in a borrowed Princeton jacket, he is approached by the wealthy Herbert Greenleaf, who believes Tom to be an actual graduate of the university and a friend of his son, Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law). Ripley is asked to travel to Italy to persuade Dickie to return to the United States to help run the family business. He agrees, even though he did not go to Princeton and has never even met Dickie.
Shortly after his arrival in Italy, Ripley contrives an "accidental" meeting on the beach with Dickie and his girlfriend, Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow), and quickly ingratiates himself into their lives. Dickie and Tom go on trips together, and on one of these trips they meet Dickie's friend Freddie Miles (Hoffman), who has an instant suspicion about Tom. When a girl with whom Dickie was having an affair kills herself, things begin to change. Dickie begins to tire of his new friend, resenting Ripley's constant presence and growing dependence, especially after he learns that Ripley has been lying about their days together at Princeton. Ripley's feelings are complicated by his desire to maintain the wealthy lifestyle Greenleaf has afforded him, and by his growing sexual obsession with his new friend.
As a gesture to Ripley, Greenleaf agrees to travel with him on a short holiday to Sanremo. The two hire a small boat and head out to sea. They begin arguing while on board, with Dickie rejecting and mocking Ripley. Ripley then mocks Dickie in return. Enraged, he threatens to hit Ripley in anger but backs down, and resorts to further describing his disgust with even being around Ripley. Ripley then loses his temper and swings an oar, hitting Dickie on the head. Dickie furiously attacks Ripley, attempting to choke him. The two struggle, and Ripley kills him in the ensuing struggle. Horrified, he lets the boat drift to shore while lying on the chest of Dickie's lifeless body. He then sinks the boat, with Dickie's body still on board, to conceal his crime before swimming to shore.
When the hotel concierge mistakes him for Dickie, Ripley realizes he can assume Dickie's identity. He takes on Dickie's signature and passport and begins living off his allowance. He carefully provides communications to Marge to make her believe that Dickie has deserted her. He even books into two separate hotels as himself and Greenleaf and passes messages between "them" via the hotel staff, thus providing the illusion that Dickie is still alive.
Later, Ripley rents an expensive apartment in Rome. He spends a lonely Christmas buying expensive presents for himself. Dickie's friend Freddie visits what he assumes to be Dickie's apartment. He is immediately suspicious of Ripley; the apartment is not furnished in what he considers to be Dickie's style and the landlady complains about the constant piano-playing, whereas Greenleaf does not play the piano. When Miles is about to confront Ripley about this, Ripley murders him as well.
Over the next few weeks, Ripley's existence becomes a "cat and mouse" game with the police and Greenleaf's friends. His predicament is complicated by Meredith Logue (Blanchett), a wealthy heiress he met when first arriving in Italy and to whom he introduced himself as Dickie Greenleaf—before Ripley had even met him. Ripley forges a suicide note in Greenleaf's name and moves to Venice. In quick succession, Marge, Dickie's father and an American private detective confront Ripley. Marge in particular suspects Ripley of involvement in Dickie's death, whereupon Ripley prepares to murder her. He is interrupted when Marge's friend, Peter Smith-Kingsley, enters the apartment.
The private detective reveals that Mr. Greenleaf has decided to give Ripley a portion of Dickie's income with the understanding that certain sordid details about his son's past not be revealed to the Italian police—such as a vicious assault on a fellow student at Princeton or an affair with a girl he impregnated who subsequently committed suicide.
Ripley goes on a cruise with Smith-Kingsley, his new lover, only to discover that Meredith is also on board the cruise. Ripley realizes it will be impossible to keep Smith-Kingsley from discovering that he has been passing himself off as Dickie, since Peter and Meredith know each other and could eventually exchange words. He cannot solve this dilemma by murdering Logue, as she is traveling with a large family that would quickly notice her disappearance. The movie concludes with the audio of a sobbing Ripley as he strangles Smith-Kingsley, playing over a scene of him sitting alone in his dark cabin.
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More The Talented Mr. Ripley reviews
review by . March 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Minghella gives us the sad boy who wets his pants, not the charming snake that kills
Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley suffers badly from that all-too-common condition, auteur's bloat. It's not just that the young, charming, amoral and murderous Tom Ripley has been turned into a corn-fed young man with tragic flaws. That wouldn't necessarily be a problem. Although those who love Patricia Highsmith's unadulterated protagonist might fuss, changing things is inherent in bringing books to movies. A different take on a character can be interesting. The problem …
Quick Tip by . December 28, 2010
Matt Damon demonstrates his acting ability in this movie. I didn't like his role at all but he certainly pulled it off as one fine actor!
review by . June 30, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
The Talented Mr. Ripley reminded me of nothing quite so much as Ridley Scott's Hannibal. That in itself is no bad thing, for Hannibal is a terrific piece of cinema, and in any case The Talented Mr. Ripley predates Hannibal by a couple of years. It is certainly true that Hannibal borrows much from Mr. Ripley in terms of style - and for that matter, a number of the set pieces. The Opera scene; the coffee emporia, the perfume; the high-end dolce vita, counterpointed against the subject's grisly deeds …
review by . March 16, 2001
posted in Movie Hype
Unlike most critics and many people, I did not like Anthony Minguella's THE ENGLISH PATIENT. I admit that many of the visuals in that film were stunning. However, I was not at all impressed by the story and to be honest the acting wasn't all that great (Miramax has often won awards not because of talent or performance, but because they have an incredibly huge checkbook thanks to the Mouse). From the previews, I actually thought I might enjoy RIPLEY. The visuals looked once again stunning, the lead …
review by . January 14, 2000
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Good acting, and outstanding scenery     Cons: Slow in places, loose ends     Based on the highly acclaimed novel by Patricia Highsmith, Matt Damon stars as the chameleon-like Tom Ripley, who is commissioned to retrieve errant playboy and self-proclaimed expatriate, Jude Law from Italy. The simple errand turns deadly as Damon develops an unhealthy obsession with the gentleman playboy expatriate and his girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow, and people start dropping …
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
The Talented Mr. Ripley
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