Monday, 19 August 2013

The Talented Mr Ripley


He is the mysterious, lonely, troubled, confused, gifted, tender, sensitive, haunted, yearning, intellectual, passionate and talented Mr Ripley. Set in the late 50’s the young blond underachiever Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is sent to Italy to retrieve a spoiled millionaire playboy named Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law). However, captivated by the charm of Dickie and the lush lifestyle that he shares with his beautiful girlfriend, Ripley embraces the posh existence. However all good things comes to an end but Tom will stop at nothing to hold onto the new found life.


Watching the bright and charming psychopath manoeuvre his way from a life of poverty to a grand life of jazz, fine food and wine is a perfect ingredient to the psychological thriller genre. The captivating and unsettling performance of Matt Damon shows us the dark twisted Tom Ripley lust for a better life. The constant lies of his life give us little knowledge of who Tom really is and where he actually comes from. All that is known is he is an excellent pianist, has an eye for fame and has the talent of becoming someone else. Impersonating other people and forging their handwriting. Tom can even talk like the person he wants to be. His soul purpose in life is to become a somebody rather than remain a nobody. He lives by a code of “It's better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody”. The most troubling feature that we witness Tom constantly do is his disturbing gaze at Dickie. Maybe its admiration or maybe it is love? But as the film slowly creeps away from the glossy beaches of the Italian coast and its luxurious lifestyles, the gazes become more and more murderous.


Anthony Minghella vision embraced the existence of a millionaire’s spoiled heir. When Tom and Dickie meet the plot seems to become a narrative about Tom falling in love with Dickie. But we are than taken to a journey of envy and obsession. Minghella drives the plot from a thriller to a phycological thriller when Tom decides he would rather be Dickie Greenleaf. Rather than go back to the damp basement apartment in New York to a life of poverty, Ripley precipitately kills Dickie and takes his identity. A game of cat and mouse presents itself when Tom has to constantly change his identity to keep the illusion that Dickie is still alive.


How far could someone go to become somebody else is the question that lingers around The Talented Mr Ripley. Tom Ripley is a sympathetic psychopath that we can’t help but gravitate towards and subconsciously want him to get gateway. The Talented Mr Ripley is a dominant thriller that seamlessly grows into eerie suspense.



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