Mr. Ripley (SE)/B,B+
Talented Mr. Ripley is a remake of the 1965 French film
Purple Noon from a novel by Patricia Highsmith (Strangers
on a Train). Anthony Minghella (The English Patient),
Ripley's director, is an erudite and polished artist. However,
there is a coldness that frosts the edges of Minghella's work.
It distances the viewer from protagonists, and such is the case
with his Ripley.
Ripley, believe it or not. ©Paramount
novel is a clever template from which to start and depart.
Ripley is a young musician, hungry for a life beyond his reach.
When circumstances send him on a mission to Italy to bring back
the profligate son of a rich man, Ripley sees other
possibilities. The beaches and rialtos of Europe are a lure he
can't resist. When Ripley arrives in Italy and moves in on
Dickie Greenleaf, the wheels are spinning. He positively leaches
onto Greenleaf and girlfriend Marge Sherwood. There are hints of
what's to come, obvious homoerotic overtones, and in the
sunshine and sand Ripley's plan unfolds.
Matt Damon is skeletal playing Ripley.
He is far too creepy to invest himself into the lives of these
young ancestors of the jet set. It's a major blunder. In the
original Purple Noon, Alain Delon was appealing and there
was good reason that he was able to become attached to
Greenleaf. Do you fault the actor or director. My vote goes to
the director in this case. Jude Law brings confidence and brio
to Dickie Greenleaf. It's an effective screen
portrait, while Gwyneth Paltrow is far too pale and wan
(despite the sun) for my tastes. Add a bit of cheeky American
abroad work from Kate Blanchett and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and
you must admire the cast. The production is sumptuous with great
photography. All the production elements are sterling, but
still, there's the frosty edge that prevents Ripley from
Anthony Minghella is an enjoyable guide
for The Talented Mr. Ripley in his audio commentary.
Minghella's craftsmanship flows over into his production
observations. The making of short included as one of the extras
has cast interviews and some behind the scenes insights, but is
limited by intent. A making of the soundtrack short is
informative, with two music videos and two theatrical trailers
completing the package.
Transfer elements for this 1999 film,
are as expected, pristine. The DVD effectively captures the
lighting intent of the cinematographer and director. It appears
that a variety of filters were used to bring a distinctive look
to The Talented Mr. Ripley, and at times the result is a
slightly softer than reference DVD picture. Delicate colors are
replicated and the lush values of the production are shown off
to good effect. Dolby Digital 5:1 surround delivers all the
ambient sounds in the right locations. The music by Gabriel
Yared is given a full range treatment as well.
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