The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) Film Review

The Talented Mr. Ripley

“Ripley” is Anthony Minghella’s masterpiece. The director’s pitch-perfect adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 novel boasts not only Matt Damon’s best performance as the sociopathic Tom Ripley but stunning turns by both Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jude Law.

Not being a huge fan of “The English Patient” (I’m with Elaine on this one), for me, “Ripley” is Minghella’s greatest achievement.

It’s also a deliciously queer movie with Damon’s sociopathic Tom Ripley clearly pining for Law’s wealthy and spoiled Dickey Greenlief, only to be rebuffed. At that moment on the boat, Tom does what Tom does best. He kills Dickie and then assumes his identity.

Both Damon and Law were at their most beautiful in this movie and Damon’s long walk across the Italian beach with his tight yellow trunks is one of the great moments in LGBTQ+ cinema.

Tom also has two other gay characters to deal with. Freddie (Philip Seymour Hoffmann giving the movie’s best performance in an Ocean of great performances) Dickie’s best friend and possibly lover (like Tom he was also madly in love with Dickie) is getting too suspicious, so Tom has to kill him.

At the end of the film, Tom seems to genuinely care for his new crush Peter (Jack Davenport). They are on a luxury cruise with a gorgeous suite. Unfortunately, the surprise arrival of Cate Blanchett on board means that Peter has to go, strangled with a deluxe scarf.

The stunning cinematography is by John Seale who started his career as Russell Boyd’s camera operator on Peter Weir’s “Picnic at Hanging Rock”.

The memorable score is by Gabriel Yared.


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