Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1999. Miramax, , , Timnick Films. Screenplay by Anthony Minghella, based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith. Cinematography by John Seale. Produced by William Horberg, Tom Sternberg. Music by Gabriel Yared. Production Design by Roy Walker. Costume Design by Gary Jones, Ann Roth. Film Editing by Walter Murch. Academy Awards 1999. Berlin Film Festival 2000. Golden Globe Awards 1999.
Fantastic tribute to Alfred Hitchcock movies features a letter-perfect performance from Matt Damon as the titular villain, a man whose loneliness and poverty render him useless among 1950s American aristocracy, therefore placing him (in his mind) beyond the law. Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith (whose novel Strangers On A Train was filmed by Hitchcock), Anthony Minghella’s latest cinematic offering has Tom Ripley, a Manhattan bathroom attendant, find himself noticed by Herbert Greenleaf (James Rebhorn), a shipyard millionaire who pays him a substantial amount of money to go to Italy and bring back his wayward son Dickie (Jude Law, in a role that made him a star). Upon getting there, Tom finds himself drawn sexually and emotionally to Dickie, obsessed to the point where he wants to completely take over the young man’s life, including the relationship Dickie has with his girlfriend Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow, who does well considering she’s stuck with being just the girl in a psychological gay murder-mystery-romance). Everything goes awry from there, and it’s all kept to a beautifully steady rhythm by Minghella’s intense pacing, plus the production values are an opulent high; Ann Roth and Gary Jones’ costumes are particularly lovely, and contribute to a terrif recreation of the period. Cate Blanchett is a standout in a small role as an American textile princess who provides a few complications for the multilayered puzzle. Previously filmed as Purple Noon.