THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY
Review by Dave Smith
In 1950 after a couple of pictures that flopped, Alfred Hitchcock found a novel by Patricia Highsmith, made it into a movie and was back with a spectacular hit. The name of the film was, Strangers on a Train. Five years later Ms. Highsmith wrote The Talented Mr. Ripley. In fact she wrote five Mr. Ripley novels. Writer/director Anthony Minghella, best known for The English Patient, spent three years writing and preparing The Talented Mr. Ripley for the screen. His efforts have been rewarded. This is one of those films which exudes professionalism. The actors are all first-rate. The location scenes are spectacular. The film moves along well and provides the viewer with enough twists and turns to make it interesting. Matt Damon as Mr. Ripley is very well cast and makes the most of it. Even Gwyneth Paltrow, whose acting style is sometimes too obvious, is believable as the girlfriend of a slain lover who develops deep suspicions about Mr. Ripley. In 1950 Hitchcock was not able to fully exploit the homosexual overtones of the relationship between Robert Walker and Farley Granger but there is no such problem today. Ms. Highsmith again inserts a homosexual attraction in this novel as she did in Strangers on a Train. Several of Ms. Highsmith's novels have been made into films but this is only the second one to be made by an American company. The French made their version of The Talented Mr. Ripley in 1960, it was called, Purple Noon. Most people who saw Strangers on a Train preferred the villain to the hero. Robert Walker was at the top of his form as the psychotic Bruno. In The Talented Mr. Ripley, Matt Damon is infinitely more interesting than any of the other "straight" characters, although Jude Law is outstanding as Dickie Greenleaf. This film is intelligently acted, written and directed. You can't say that for most films made today.