"The Talented Mr. Ripley"
Directed by Anthony Minghella.
Written by Anthony Minghella. Based on the book by Patricia
Starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law.
Release Year: 1999
Review Date: 1/20/00
I apologize for being "offline" for a while;
my computer's video card died, and it took a week to get things back
in order on the home PC. But now, I am back...for better or for
First off, I want to briefly discuss the
newest fetish of myself and Brian "Schmoove" Prenoveau:
www.kozmo.com. Let me put this to you simply: if you live or work
within the city limits in the metropolitan areas of San Francisco,
New York, or Washington, DC and you buy your CDs anywhere else
besides kozmo.com, you are quite simply the dumbest piece of dung
currently reading Bellview. Why is that? It's pretty simple,
really: you log on to the Kozmo site, fill out user info like
address, credit card, blah-blah-blah. Then, you pick out the CDs
that you want--all major label and semi-major label artists and
works are in stock, trust me. EVERY CD (ok, not 2-disc sets) ON THE
SITE IS $9.99. How they can sell you CDs at this price had not been
figured out yet by Schmoove or myself, but no matter. Then, you
give them an address to deliver the CDs to and any special
instructions like "watch out for my doberman." Then, ONE HOUR LATER
YO MAN, DID YOU SAY ONE HOUR???
Yep, ONE HOUR LATER THE CDS ARE AT YOUR
DOOR. GUARANTEED! None of that $10, FedEx overnight horseshit;
they bring the discs to your doorstep! Schmoove ordered a CD off of
kozmo.com last week; within 45 minutes, he had ordered a CD online,
turned off his computer, left work, made his 10-minute commute home,
parked, walked inside his house, started talking to his roommate
about what a great service Kozmo was, and five minutes later, a guy
showed up with his CD. Did I mention that with tax and no tip (Kozmo
policy is no tipping), this came to $10.56? And he didn't even
leave his house!!!!
OK, back to the movies. "The Talented Mr.
Ripley" is based on a book by Patricia Highsmith and the movie is
directed by Anthony Minghella, the director of "The English
Patient." In that regard, "Patient" is like "Ripley" in that it
takes its sweet ol' time to weave its narrative. Julia "Trik"
Perkins, kind enough to spend the day with Bellview last Friday, has
seen "Patient" twice, and commented afterwards that the scenery is
beautiful in both movies--"Ripley" lets its camerawork make love to
the Italian countryside and 50's-era jazz boutiques. Also,
character development is slow in both movies too, as Minghella
carefully shows us different sides of each main personality.
The story: a millionaire father sends Tom
Ripley (Matt Damon) to Italy to retrieve his wayward Princeton
graduate son, Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), who has left home and
made a career of spending his daddy's cash. Once Tom, a man of odd
jobs in New York City, finds Dickie (and his ladyfriend Marge,
played by Gweneth Paltrow), he slowly becomes envious of Dickie's
lifestyle and begins to take it over.
Julia loved the cinematography--in
particular, the bleeding effects during the opera sequence and some
of the sweeping camera angles--and the way the story came full
circle. Also, Damon's hideously lime-green swimsuit "left too
little to the imagination." The beautiful sets and the jazz-infused
soundtrack get high marks, and everything that Law wears during the
movie emanates cool. If I was half the man (looks-wise) that Law
is, I wouldn't have time to write these reviews, because the sign-up
sheet on my door would always be full. And Damon, by losing about
20 pounds and slapping on some Clark Kent glasses, plays the loser
to a t. Think Willy Loman without the suitcase.
Paltrow and Cate Blanchett, playing the
women scorned slots in this movie, do a serviceable job, but the
real breakout here is Law, who will be extremely overexposed in the
near future if he's lucky.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of
interesting plot twists--I wouldn't say surprising, just
interesting--that keep this movie flowin' after Dickie Greenleaf
disappears that I can't mention here. But, needless to say, they
are twisty and like Ripley, they shed an interesting light on all of
the principals. And Damon's character is scary in how quickly he
can be the quiet, tooly geek...and then BAM!, play the dark,
manipulative side too. Damon may be staring down his second Oscar
nod for his work here.
Negatives: there really aren't any; the
movie does start a little slow, and it can be overly...ambiguous in
some points, but I can't really go into why. But otherwise, Julia
and I both liked it a plenty. In my mind, a lock for a Best Picture
nomination in March.
Rating: Opening Weekend
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard