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The Talented Mr. Ripley [1999 film] (1999)

por Anthony Minghella (Director/Screenwriter)

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Tom Ripley is a calculating young man who believes its better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody. He's hired to go to Italy to bring back he playboy son of a millionaire and soon is plunged into a daring scheme of duplicity, lies and murder.
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    Purple Noon [1960 film] por René Clément (Waldstein)
    Waldstein: The two movie versions of Patricia Highsmith's novel make for a fascinating comparison. But it's more important to appreciate them as independent works of art, bearing the same relation to the literary original as Liszt's Réminiscences de Don Juan to Mozart's Don Giovanni.… (mais)
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The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Matt Damon – Tom Ripley
Jude Law – Dickie Greenleaf
Gwyneth Paltrow – Marge Sherwood
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Freddie Miles
Cate Blanchett – Meredith Logue
Jack Davenport – Peter Smith-Kingsley
James Rebhorn – Herbert Greenleaf
Sergio Rubini – Inspector Roverini
Philip Baker Hall – Alvin MacCarron
Stefania Rocca – Silvana

Screenplay by Anthony Minghella, based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel (1955)
Directed by Anthony Minghella

Kinowelt Home Entertainment, 2005. 133 min. Colour. 1,85:1 (anamorph). 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. Bonus: “Making Of” (21:35), “Making the Soundtrack” (8:20), interviews (11:15), audio commentary by the director.

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I always thought it would be better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody.

This is one hell of a movie! My reaction to it has progressed from a rather lukewarm appreciation when it was first released to something like unmitigated rapture almost twenty years and at least a dozen viewings later. It certainly grows on you, or at least me, with repeated revisits. The first time I thought it was merely a sensual feast for eyes and ears, with Rome, San Remo, Venice and the south of Italy gorgeously brought to life and Gabriel Yared’s stirring original score plus plenty of classical music and jazz (pity about the official edition of the soundtrack). Now I know it is so much more than that.

It is not a perfect movie. It’s a masterpiece despite its imperfections. The original novel is essentially improbable and Minghella couldn’t do much to improve this on the screen. Indeed, he made the whole thing even more improbable, and I still think his introduction of homosexuality was a dramatic mistake[1]. But this is still a terrific story with great characters and plenty of food for thought. Nor is it worth paying too much attention to the countless differences with the novel and the first movie version from 1960. I once indulged in this innocent parlour game at some length. It was fun, but now I know it was also a blind alley. Every movie should be an independent and self-sufficient work of art. This one is.

The funny thing is, I am no great fan either of Minghella or anybody from the cast. This is unusual. Just as I am an author-orientated reader (as opposed to genre- or theme-orientated), my favourite movies are mostly with my favourite actors or actresses, sometimes directors or screenwriters. This is not the case here. I thought The English Patient (1996) dull twenty years ago and now, having recently seen it again, I find it even duller. I have enjoyed movies like The Departed (2006) and The Martian (2015) despite Matt Damon, certainly not because of him. I grant Gwyneth Paltrow is a good actress and Cate Blanchett may be a great one, but neither has ever moved me on the screen. All this is different here.

Granted a mild dose suspension of disbelief, Minghella’s screenplay is a masterpiece of storytelling, characterisation and craftsmanship. So is his direction. Tom Ripley, a pathetic yet sinister creature and just as much Minghella’s creation as Highsmith’s (more so, in fact), is a proof what Matt Damon can do with a great script to work on. He pulls off this complex and contradictory character with success you can hardly expect from his other work except, perhaps, Good Will Hunting (1997). The supporting cast is flawless, but Gwyneth Paltrow stands out, especially in the second half when her attitude to Tom is noticeably cooler. She knows he did it. If only she could somehow convince the dense detective and the even denser Mr Greenleaf! Jude Law, impossibly handsome at twenty-six, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in a role tailor-made for him, and Cate Blanchett as the zany Meredith are also memorable, indeed impressively so.

None of these people is very admirable, much less likeable, or sometimes even bearable. But all of them are alive. This is as much a tribute to the cast as to Minghella as a writer. He has succeeded in seeing the world, not just through the eyes of the title character (hard enough at all events!), but also from the point of view of Dickie, Marge, Meredith and even Mr Greenleaf. I suppose this small detail makes Minghella’s characters, however devoid of common morality, so convincing. Or as he wisely puts it through the mouth of Tom Ripley:

Well, whatever you do, however terrible, however hurtful, it all makes sense, doesn’t it? In your head. You never meet anybody that thinks they’re a bad person.

______________________________________________________
[1] Whatever anyone tells you, Tom Ripley from the book is not homosexual. He is asexual, a much rarer and more interesting type. As he puts it himself in Chapter 10, much more seriously than he pretends to in front of others, “I can’t make up my mind whether I like men or women, so I’m thinking of giving them both up.” So he does. ( )
2 vote Waldstein | May 1, 2018 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Minghella, AnthonyDirector/Screenwriterautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Blanchett, Cateautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Damon, Mattautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Davenport, Jackautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Highsmith, PatriciaOriginal novelautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Hoffman, Philip SeymourActorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Law, Judeautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Murch, Walterautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Paltrow, Gwynethautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
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Tom Ripley is a calculating young man who believes its better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody. He's hired to go to Italy to bring back he playboy son of a millionaire and soon is plunged into a daring scheme of duplicity, lies and murder.

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