Picks and Pans Review: The Talented Mr. Ripley
Tom Ripley has committed that gravest of sins against the rich: He has ceased to amuse. "You can be quite boring," wealthy American expatriate Dickie Greenleaf (Law) tells Ripley (Damon) dismissively, not fully aware of how desperately besotted Ripley has become with both Dickie and his sybaritic lifestyle in late-1950s Italy. Ripley will not be discarded so easily. Instead he will get rid of Dickie and attempt to become him.
The Talented Mr. Ripley is about reinventing one's self, that oldest of American dreams. A shimmering thriller with more on its mind than just whether psychopathic Ripley will get away with murder, the film is based on Patricia Highsmith's 1955 novel. Director-adapter Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) displays a finely tuned appreciation for character and style, not to mention the influences of Hitchcock and writers F. Scott Fitzgerald and Theodore Dreiser. Ripley's second half goes a little limp as plot mechanics clank, but the movie is fascinating, helped enormously by dazzling performances by both Damon and Law and a thoughtful one by Paltrow as Dickie's girlfriend. (R)
Bottom Line: Rippingly good