It is currently Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:30 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:42 am 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller
Jared's score for this is just one of the VERY GREATEST movie scores ever written!

I cannot believe nobody has chimed in until now. Put the movie on again earlier this evening and, well.. perhaps, was beginning to feel heady, against something like Bonjour Tristesse (with its far less amplified Auric score.) THE TWO OF THEM ARE EXTREMELY "CONTAGIOUS."

If ever a movie was about its parts, Minghella made it - music from 58 to early 60s. The Obliquity of "Classical Charley Parker plus the full Symphony 90 piece band (what a dream to a director and what sublime use of it he and Jared made.) And the forward, but halting mise en scene. This is one the very greatest movies of the 2000's.

I was absolutely in floods of tears (of joy (watching Minhgella and the composer go thru the score and rebalance the orchestra in this ancient form of moveimaking- all in 4:3) Just wonderful!

I have never liked the directors' other pictures much - certainly not the nonsense with Nicole. But,,, for this movie alone. He deserves a place in heaven. As do all his collaborators.

Vale Minghella!


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:12 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:47 am
Location: zurich
This is one of those films I was always 'getting round to' but never saw. Yesterday's sad announcement reminded me to pick up a copy and I'm looking forward to seeing it this weekend. I never heard anything in particular about the soundtrack though, you've whetted my appetite even more David.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:26 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
davidhare wrote:
And the forwrad but halting mise en scene. This is one the very greatest movies of the 2000's.

I agree with everything davidhare said but just wanted to make a slight correction in that Mr Ripley was a film from 1999 and adds to the reason why that was such a surprisingly strong year across all genres and levels (from popcorn to challenging) for American cinema: Being John Malkovich, The Sixth Sense, The Iron Giant, Cradle Will Rock, The Blair Witch Project, Election, The End Of The Affair, The Insider, Three Kings, The Limey, Office Space, Toy Story 2, Onegin, Wisconsin Death Trip, Sleepy Hollow, The Matrix, Fight Club, The Thomas Crown Affair remake (which I much prefer to the original) and American Beauty (though I'm not a fan of it, it seemed to be the popular choice of the year - I'd have gone for Ripley though, which was more deserving and also more of the 9 Oscars The English Patient won! It seems the Academy jumped the gun with Minghella, though perhaps without all those awards he would not have been able to go on to do Ripley)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:34 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
colinr0380 wrote:
I agree with everything davidhare said but just wanted to make a slight correction in that Mr Ripley was a film from 1999

Technically you're right, but it opened in the US on Christmas Day (presumably to qualify for Oscars), and the vast majority of people wouldn't have had a chance to see it until early-to-mid 2000 (evidence).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:22 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2005 6:04 pm
Sorry to dump on Minghella so soon after his death, but this was ultimately a butchering of the brilliant Highsmith source novel. While certain things were done quite well (hate to say it, but Jude Law was a perfect Dickie Greenleaf, and, as David points out, the music choices were apt and carefully chosen) but for the most part Minghella completely misunderstood the Ripley character. He tries so hard to explain him, to provide some motivation for his evil apathy, but in the process softens him and makes him a far less interesting character than Highsmith intended.

Even worse, he overtly spells out the homosexual subtext of the story, which is only that - a subtext. Highsmith herself wrote that Ripley was not gay. In the series' subsequent novels (all incredible, by the way), Tom is in fact married and somewhat happily at that. His attraction to Dickie is not really a sexual one (Ripley is almost asexual); rather, it springs from the fact that Tom desperately covets everything that Dickie has and represents - his wealth, looks, charm and status. That he may also be sexually attracted to Dickie, and feel a little confused by this desire, is LOW on the list of reasons for why he murders his friend. If you just go by the film version, you'd think he kills Greenleaf mainly out of unrequited love/sexual rejection. Which is bollocks.

Minghella tried desperately to turn Ripley into a tragic figure. He's not. He's an amoral sociopath. He never questions his actions, or feels remorse for them. That's the point.

Ripley has a mixed cinematic record over the years. Plein Soleil was great until the ridiculous ending (changed, of course, from the novel). I'm a big fan of The American Friend; but while it comes closest to capturing the spirit of Highsmith's writing, its narrative is ragged (a long way from the beautiful precision of Highsmith's plots) and in the end addresses Wenders' concerns as much as those of the original author. Minghella's depiction of Ripley comes a distant third.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:04 pm 
Not PETA approved
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada
Quote:
That he may also be sexually attracted to Dickie, and feel a little confused by this desire, is LOW on the list of reasons for why he murders his friend. If you just go by the film version, you'd think he kills Greenleaf mainly out of unrequited love/sexual rejection. Which is bollocks.

The sexuality stuff is far more complex than you make it out. Ripely doesn't have a sexuality in the film; he's gay or straight depending on what person he's trying to play. His obsession with Dickie does have a strange, quasi-sexual aspect, but I think that's because on some level Tom is confusing his own narcissistic desire with sexual desire. He idolizes Dickie's life so thoroughly that part of him thinks fucking Dickie will bring him closer into that life--but this is not an erotic desire in any sense we would understand. Ripely ultimately kills Dickie, not out of unrequited love (that really is taking everything the movie's done up to that point very simply), but for a number of reasons, not the least of which being Tom's anger over Dickie's attack on his facade, as well as the threat that he will have to return to America and be nothing again. And anyway he can't really have been hoping very hard for sex with Dickie since he doesn't even have a moment of remorse once he's taken on Dickie's identity, which seems to fulfill him for the moment.

It sounds like you find Tom Ripley uninteresting because he's not the Tom Ripley of the novel, and expectations are always hard to get over. I, on the other hand, found him fascinating, not in the least because he was both compelling and repelling, often at the same time.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:37 pm 
Big fan of the former president
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:54 pm
Location: Provo, Utah
Mr_sausage wrote:
Ripely ultimately kills Dickie, not out of unrequited love (that really is taking everything the movie's done up to that point very simply), but for a number of reasons, not the least of which being Tom's anger over Dickie's attack on his facade, as well as the threat that he will have to return to America and be nothing again.

My take on it was that he killed Dickie because he wanted to be like him so much that he became him, adopting his identity and his life, which he envied so much. Isn't Ripley essentially a blank slate and that's why he's so good at becoming others.

At any rate, I love the mood and atmosphere of this film so much, from the attention to period detail to, as others have pointed out, the music. I also love the locations -- all the great European locales -- which obviously add to the film's incredible atmosphere.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:25 pm 
Not PETA approved
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada
Fletch wrote:
My take on it was that he killed Dickie because he wanted to be like him so much that he became him, adopting his identity and his life, which he envied so much. Isn't Ripley essentially a blank slate and that's why he's so good at becoming others.

It worked out that way, but the murder was not premeditated (Ripley's actions surprised even himself), so I doubt Ripley was consciously attempting to take Dickie's identity by it. You're right about him being a blank slate, tho'.


Last edited by Mr Sausage on Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:26 pm 
Dot Com Dom
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm
I never saw it, is it better or worse than Purple Noon?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:49 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller
I agree with sausage (what!) Ripley's two homosexual "relationships" which both lead to murders are far more complex than just gay affairs. They are extensions of not only his narcissism but curiously his need to find an identity.

As for Highsmith who cares that Minghella is not "capturing her essence" or whatever - she was a springboard for this movie and Minghella's treatment of Ripley is a very personally invested one, down to his "classical" music background against the jazz emphasis of the Italian sequences. The whole movie is just bubbling over with affection for the dialogue between the two musical styles, the celebration of the late fifties era in Italy, down to the renaissance in Italian cinema, the color the settings, and the characters.

It's a wildly superior movie to Plein Soleil which - largely thanks to Delon certainly had its moments. But the current print of this on DVD is so horrible it's not worth watching. It used to look fabulous in that late fifties lustrous French Eastmancolor (which was possibly shot on Agfa stock.)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:46 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:38 pm
Location: North Carolina
domino harvey wrote:
I never saw it, is it better or worse than Purple Noon?

I actually prefer Purple Noon, though David is right that the current R1 DVD is terrible. (Is the the R2 Optimum better?) The ending is a betrayal of the novel, but it works reasonably well if you take the movie on its own terms.

I agree with RS that Minghella's movie is problematic, but not for the reasons that he cites. Frankly, I don't mind directors reshaping novels for films all that much, and the Cate Blanchett character is a distinct improvement upon the novel, I feel. My main problem is with Matt Damon's performance. I like Damon in general, but he's all wrong for the character of Ripley any way you cut it (either in terms of Highsmith's original or just in how the movie presents him). Damon just isn't convincing as culturally savvy in the way that his character is presented in the film. He was too light-weight an actor at that time in his career, and I don't buy for a minute that he can stand up to Dickie as played by Jude Law. (This is basically the same problem I had with Damon in Good Will Hunting.)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:52 pm 
Dot Com Dom
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm
tryavna wrote:
domino harvey wrote:
I never saw it, is it better or worse than Purple Noon?

I actually prefer Purple Noon, though David is right that the current R1 DVD is terrible. (Is the the R2 Optimum better?)

I have the Delon set but haven't popped the disc in yet-- it IS anamporphic though so it can't be worse than that horrendous Miramax DVD.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:04 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:40 pm
Location: where the simulacrum is true
Count me as a true believer as well. Interestingly, I had just re-watched this a couple weeks ago whilst on a Matt Damon kick. It's certainly amongst his finest performances. I even thought about posting on it at the time but I don't have much to say beyond remarking on its excellence. For me, what makes it great is right there on the surface, as that's what it's about, and easy enough to access. That's part of its endearing appeal, actually, as I enjoy movies tremendously which are unashamed of being movies and aspire primarily to be fine examples of the craft in a popular form.

Ripley's story is compelling from the beginning but I'm most drawn in by Minghella's little details, such as the style of the credit sequence and the wonderful flood of adjectives we see prior to the title proper appearing on screen. And this is the point, really. Beyond Minghella's exquisite storytelling skills (never better than in this film) and his adoration for the specifics of time and place, he is also greatly attuned to nuances which would normally serve only to inform the subtext. Here that sensitivity (things such as the title adjectives acknowledgment of Ripley's own mercurial sensibility) reflects Ripley's own sensitivity, at once admirably unabashed but also an end unto itself, infinitely transferable to the next subject of his gaze. Recognizing Ripley's profoundly shallow depths is not simply some banal act of criticism but rather suggests a greater understanding of character on Minghella's part. Because Ripley is not "gay" or "psychotic" or any other denoted identity; he is, or can be, any or all of those things, as circumstances and his own prevailing attitudes warrant.

I don't agree that Minghella paints Ripley as a tragic figure. If we relate to Ripley at all and want to see him survive it's because Minghella has such a command of filmic language. He knows how to plug this character into a fully realized scenario that will elicit audience sympathies despite the fact that we have also been given an unobstructed view of who we are sympathizing with. Doubtless this contributed to the film's chilly reception with audiences. I was actually in awe of it as I watched it the other night, admiring Minghella for bringing this material to the screen in this way. Ripley is not Hannibal the Cannibal, an "anti-hero" audiences seem to want to identify with or venerate; Ripley's identity is driven hugely by desperation and dependent need and those are not automatically appealing qualities. Yet, that is exactly why I dearly love this film.

Purple Noon was very good as I remember it but it had none of the staying power this one has because Delon is, in fact, an object of wish fulfillment (as if Law had portrayed Ripley); I had a different kind of problem with Cavani's Ripley's Game as that one, for all its excellence, was ultimately more familiar, less genuinely disruptive. Malkovich was great, yes, but an obvious, too easy fit for an admittedly fully formed amoral psyche. What Damon brought to this was a fresh faced willingness to please. It isn't that he's amoral per se as much as it's that he's indifferent to the very idea; his amoral tendencies don't manifest themselves as a proper identity, in other words. He's more complex than that; he represents the person who cannot comprehend why anyone would be put off by him when he has such love and openness to give. He cannot recognize the effacing quality of his own monumental selfishness, the bottomless depths of a desire which somehow manages to still avoid manifesting itself as coherent or established character. His presence acts as mirror for Dickie's own unreflective, unending consumption, his addiction to satisfying his own excessive, transitive appetites (we are told he flirts with everyone and he acts on whatever passing whim may strike him). This proximity of personality, and the recognition of its implications, is surely part of what causes their falling out, beyond simply Ripley's suffocating nearness. His great comment about no one ever believing they are a bad person (a quote I've referred to for many years) is a superb irony as, of course, he's one of those people. It's to Damon's credit as a performer and Minghella's credit as a director that a moment like this does not come off as a glib, sarcastic aside but instead as a sad revelation of a benighted personality.

Ripley's end is not tragic because he is too limited and shallow for his end to have that kind of impact. But Minghella's final image is truly one of the greatest in film; a self-enclosure of shallow surfaces that acts as more reflection of truth than tragic prison. The real tragedy is that Ripley's own relentless pursuit of not just survival but also pure sensation (hence the lustrous irony of Minghella's Italian visions) prevents him from the depths of genuine tragedy. He is not imprisoned in the surface of the mirror; the final chill is the assessment of blunt truth that image represents.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:22 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
John Cope wrote:
His great comment about no one ever believing they are a bad person (a quote I've referred to for many years) is a superb irony as, of course, he's one of those people. It's to Damon's credit as a performer and Minghella's credit as a director that a moment like this does not come off as a glib, sarcastic aside but instead as a sad revelation of a benighted personality.

That quote could apply a lot to the character Damon plays in The Good Shepherd.

Quote:
Ripley's end is not tragic because he is too limited and shallow for his end to have that kind of impact. But Minghella's final image is truly one of the greatest in film; a self-enclosure of shallow surfaces that acts as more reflection of truth than tragic prison. The real tragedy is that Ripley's own relentless pursuit of not just survival but also pure sensation (hence the lustrous irony of Minghella's Italian visions) prevents him from the depths of genuine tragedy. He is not imprisoned in the surface of the mirror; the final chill is the assessment of blunt truth that image represents.

I agree with that, but I also got the impression that we are seeing the beginnings of a sociopath, that Meredith represents the last person to know about and therefore his last tie to his original identity. The push into being forced into having to eliminate her is the final severing of that link. It felt very similar to the living death Damon has at the end of The Good Shepherd.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:03 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:40 pm
Location: where the simulacrum is true
Yeah, I agree with that, colin. Ripley is a human being after all. I'm probably not giving Minghella enough credit. His sympathy for Ripley extends beyond its use as a formal conceit but never goes so far as to take the shape of an apology. But you're right, clearly more is going on there than just an assertion of fact. That more has something to do with the aforementioned sympathy no doubt. So let's explore that.

Are we to presume then that this ending really is tragic after all, at least in part, because Ripley is now, unquestionably, damned by his actions? Are his actions in fact the inevitable result of his persona, such as it is? Does this moment pre-figure a life of increasingly necessary isolation and sociopathy? I think you're onto something that I overlooked, actually.

The tragic elements in play in Ripley are tied to the fact that Ripley is unable to fully commit to the depths of feeling he does have access to. Because if he did the results we see throughout would be different. He would be less inclined to immediately fall back onto pure survival instinct post-Dickie; his grief would over-ride that. It's an indication of how beautifully this story is set up that we are presented with an illustration of the slow disintegration of a certain type of character. Ripley's post-Dickie actions can be sympathized with to a point because the incident that initiated them was so seemingly abrupt and the traumatic shock so unforeseeable. We can even appreciate Ripley's finely honed pragmatism as he establishes his alibis (there is something in this at least that a pragmatically driven society such as our own can admire). But this is not the same as the supposedly harmless, frivolous experiences in Catch Me If You Can. There is something of a qualitative difference. And throughout we are seeing the primary traits of this individual. Thus the decision he makes at the end is impactful since it can be seen as a deeply unfortunate compromise inspired by the ascension and consecration of purely pragmatic drives.

Anyway, it does suggest Ripley's fate is sealed but what has actually been lost? I'm fascinated by lives lived principally through the mediation of assumed identity as I believe this can describe most people at one time or another and some people all of the time. Beyond that there's always the provocative question of how much we've synthesized an identity that may have started out as fatuous role playing and now plays a distinctive part in determining who we are.

But Ripley is a very specific case. Minghella's film is not about the lived melodramatic tropes of someone like James Gray. Nor is it about the embodiment of iconic immersion like Julian Hernandez. It also isn't like the complex mediations of Zalman King who, at his best, grasps well the implications of a very specific lived reality--one lived fully but through the most heightened of private mythologies. Ripley is closer to Miami Vice in the way that the surface reality becomes an obstruction to genuine feeling or the emergence of genuine depth. The difference is important, however. In Vice the obstructions of a false reality serve to standardize everything, calling into question whether authentic feeling can ever be determined. But it never questions "authentic feeling" as an ontological reality. Ripley, on the other hand, seems to be implying that its protagonist's depths of humanness are such that they create their own self-enclosed parameters; they cannot be any more delimited than they already are and this seems to be the gist of Ripley's tragic element.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 3:47 am 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller
Ripley/Damon replies in answer to the narrative challenges - most movingly of all in the scene wheere he strangles off screen the last boyfriend. With the dialogue also offscreen.

Indeed without this we wouldn't have a continuing cinema, or the possibility of narrative continuing after the screeening, thus indeed leading into our own lives.

Even!!! ALORS!

I ADORE the handle Minghella took on this text and the rewards he got from all his collaborators. Look if you wanna do this (and I don't) it's a fix on the psychopathy of the modern world. Narcissm, selfishness, ego, total hypocrisy, totally schizoid values, zero morality.....And I admit I am old. But still - the modern wolrd is overpopulated , to say the least. And overrun by ideologues. Like religion. (Etc.) Even the poor fucking Frenchwoman yesterday had to kill herself cause ths State still doesn't give poeple real rights. The short advert M filmed with Blair and Brown is a riot. I suspect he did this with the eroticism entirely consciously, and it remains curiously both satirical AND moving. (There was no other choice, although I guess, and I Confess Im following Boris Johsnon's new path as likely Mayor of London with huge fascination. Like a lace fascinator. And a blowjob by somebody with no teeth.)

If he had lived I would have voted for Anthony as Mayor of everywhere in the world - he seemed to care so much!!

(But aint happening in my lifetime like lotsa things.)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:12 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
davidhare wrote:
Look if you wanna do this (and I don't) it's a fix on the psychopathy of the modern world. Narcissm, selfishness, ego, total hypocrisy, totally schizoid values, zero morality.....And I admit I am old. But still - the modern wolrd is overpopulated , to say the least. And overrun by ideologues. Like religion. (Etc.)

I think you are right in not wishing to widen it out or generalising the character too much. I like the idea though that it shows up that hypocritical notion of "I love you but it still won't stop me from strangling you to death" that seems applicable in a wider sense. Hedging his bets to be free to go off with the more socially acceptable Meredith meaning he has to kill off everyone close to him, even the possible escape from everything with Peter (sorry, I got mixed up earlier! Meant to say Peter - that is the problem with typing from memory! :roll: ), lends a wonderfully ironic ending to the film as he gets forced into a sham relationship with Meredith. There is that sense that this is the turning point - by ending the life of someone so close he has passed the ultimate test of who he would kill. I don't think he would sit and consider killing Meredith for the same amount of time! :wink:

I like the way that events start off almost light hearted, even the killing of Dickie is not really 'painful' because Tom has been more enamoured with the lifestyle than the man per se. It hurts more that his fantasy of their relationship has ended than the death of Dickie himself does. It sort of ups the ante on him by making each person successively easier to kill (weaker or less likely to be cared about when they go missing), which could also suggest some overcoming of the original squeamishness, but emotionally they become more and more devastating to have to eliminate.

John Cope wrote:
Anyway, it does suggest Ripley's fate is sealed but what has actually been lost? I'm fascinated by lives lived principally through the mediation of assumed identity as I believe this can describe most people at one time or another and some people all of the time. Beyond that there's always the provocative question of how much we've synthesized an identity that may have started out as fatuous role playing and now plays a distinctive part in determining who we are.

That is a good point. There is also the idea of your persona being entirely created through other people's eyes - "there's no 'there' there"!

I think the opening of the film is masterful, with the mistaken identity caused by the borrowed jacket and any sense of who Tom Ripley was before then being absent. It, along with the bookending scenes in which Ripley after the murder is presumably telling the story as a flashback, suggests the self-contained nature of the story, which itself shows how major a break Peter's murder at the end of the film is while Tom just sits there, withdrawn and with no more to say, fully aware of his actions but unable to change the course of events he has set in motion.

The wonderful early irony of being an attendant at an opera house - catering to the elite but being completely ignored by them, allowing him to approach people in different circumstances and trigger only a faint recognition might even have set the idea of subsuming whatever personality Ripley had before under another (assumed to be better, or at least more privileged?) personality into his mind.

(That could be another place where things could be widened out into a discussion of how if you segregate yourself off into a bubble of privilege and humiliate those outside your circle that you create a lack of self worth that leads people to take any action to gain entry. Could Ripley initially be seen as a kind of terrorist, infiltrating the wealthy through mimickry until he can assume their role and eliminate them?)

I also liked the reference back to Good Will Hunting when Damon in his attendant's uniform is caught by one of the stagehands playing the piano on his own - only the guy who catches him is not in any position to provide him with a scholarship to persue his talents!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:20 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller
Does anyone remember Truly Madly Deeply well enough to give a considered opinion?

I remember renting it on Laserdisc but I always had an aversion to Rickman, at least apart from his later comedy roles. Anyhow I didn't ever bother with it again. Should I?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:51 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:40 pm
Location: where the simulacrum is true
I loved it, David, but I've always liked Rickman so my opinion on this may be of little use to you.

Speaking of Rickman though, did you ever see his performance in Mesmer? I always thought it was one of the finest, most sympathetic things he ever did and it has a glorious Michael Nyman score!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:59 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:19 am
Location: Cape Cod
davidhare wrote:
Does anyone remember Truly Madly Deeply well enough to give a considered opinion?

I remember renting it on Laserdisc but I always had an aversion to Rickman, at least apart from his later comedy roles. Anyhow I didn't ever bother with it again. Should I?

I just watched it for the first time based on an article in Slate Magazine saying this is the film he should be remembered for. Juliet Stevenson is very good, Rickman is fairly subdued, and it never really draws you in as truly or deeply as it should. Just my opinion, but I'm sticking with RIPLEY.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:17 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2005 8:30 pm
Neither Rene Clement's nor Anthony Minghella's versions line up with the Highsmith original for several reasons. One is that "The Talented Mr. Ripley" kicked off a series and the films are self-enclosed entities. The other is that Ripley is a self-portrait. He was the gay man as concieved by a lesbian. And a lesbian wannabe psychopath at that. Read the Highsmith bio by her ex-lover Maryjane Meaker.

Purple Noon is a pure emination of Alain Delon.

The Talented Mr. Ripley is a "coming out" story and an evocation of "Il Boom." It's a teriffic movie.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:42 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:28 pm
I agree that Delon owns Purple Noon and is the main reason to see it (though Nino Rota's surprisingly Mancini-esque score is fun, and Marie Laforet is drop-dead gorgeous and I could watch her and Delon together till the cows come home). Matt Damon is a slightly inferior Ripley but the material is far better serviced by Minghella (particularly tone and form, though it also helps that he doesn't hold back on content) and the soundtrack is mesmerizing (the entire soundscape is intelligently conceived - Yared's theme is breathtaking, and the source music/jazz can't be beat). I don't think either film is great, but they're both pretty good. Maryjane Meaker's biography on Highsmith sounds interesting.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:56 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2005 8:30 pm
Highsmith cut quite figure in the lesbian bars of postwar New York. She wrote one lesbian novel, "The Price of Salt," before hitting her stride with "Strangers on a Train," the Ripley series and others of note.

An execeedingly abusive and manipulative person she found herself in her last years besotted with a beautiful young German lesbian named Tabea Blunmenshine. She is the star of Ulrike Ottiger's Ticket of No Return. The sight of the young an vibrant actress and model pursued by the now aged crone (trailing after her like a whipped puppy) was reportedly quite something.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:47 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2017 1:59 am
I first saw The Talented Mr. Ripley when it first hit theaters with my then-gf, way back in early 2000. I remember being both disturbed & intrigued by the film. I did like the 1950's setting & the story of wealthy American expatriates living in Europe. I found the character of Ripley to be tragic; by the end of the film, I did feel sorry for the character - despite all of his heinous acts.

The old-skool jazzy soundtrack was also stellar - very well-done, and I ended up buying the CD soon after seeing the film (which I rarely do after seeing a movie, even if I like the score).

That being said, several years back (and long after I had first seen the film) I decided to read the novel TTMR by Patricia Highsmith - and, I was amazed by not only how much better the novel was, but by how much had been modified/changed for the film - to the extreme detriment of the story. As rs98762001 stated, it's true that Minghella/the screenwriter really butchered the Highsmith novel - I question whether the screenwriter even read the source material. There are so many changes between the novel & the film that they resemble each other in only the most rudimentary way.

I.e., here are some (not all) of the profound differences between the novel & the film:

-In the beginning of the film, DG's father spots TR playing the piano (he is impersonating the real piano player, apparently) - and then recruits him to to go find DG in Europe & try to persuade him to come back home.

In the novel, TR is a criminal/check forger/scam artist in NYC, long before DG's father recruits him; he is always looking over his shoulder in fear that the law will be catching up to him. The storyline about DG's father recruiting/asking TR to go to Europe & bring DG back home is similar, but it's not clear if the TR in the film is a scheming criminal - he doesn't seem that sophisticated.

In the novel, his criminal background is the explanation as to why he is so good at forging Dickie's signature, his identity, etc. (after he kills DG). Conversely, in the film, it's never explained why this comes almost naturally to him - and, for all we know, the character in the film had no criminal background prior to the first murder.

- TR plans the murder of DG in a cold, matter-of-fact well ahead of time - i.e., he plans to get the boat, how to dispose of the body, etc. Conversely, in the movie the murder was something that happened spur-of-the-moment because DG rejected TR.

-Marge Sherwood is described as being somewhat plain & big in the novel; completely unlike Gwyneth Paltrow - who is thin and attractive. Sure, I know Hollywood casts actors/actresses to make a movie more "marketable", but this was a big difference. Going along with this, the "romantic relationship" between Marge & Dickie in the novel was fairly casual - at least on Dickie's part. Conversely, in the film the characters were practically engaged to be married.

- Going along with the above, Marge is upset about Dickie's disappearance in the novel, but she never suspects Ripley had anything to do with this due to his cleverness in covering everything up, pretending to be DG at times, his explanations for everything that seemed 'off' (i.e., why he had DG's signature rings, etc.). After reading these scenes in the book, when I later re-watched the film the scene when Marge accused Ripley of killing DG felt extremely forced; she had to be dragged away screaming because she was so upset...yeah, right. The whole point of the novel was that Ripley got away with these horrible crimes without being suspected at all - they should have kept that storyline in the film.

- The Cate Blanchett character was completely missing from the novel; she didn't exist at all.

- At the end of the novel, Ripley is quite pleased with himself after getting away with the crimes/check forgeries/etc. & also successfully forging a fake "will" leaving all of DG's money to him. He's unrepentant, and plans to travel, have adventures, etc.

Conversely, at the end of the film, Ripley has just killed one more person (that he hadn't killed in the book), is overwhelmed by all of the crimes he's committed, and seems frozen & uncertain what to do; it looks like he may finally be caught at that point...

Completely different endings.

rs98762001 wrote:
Sorry to dump on Minghella so soon after his death, but this was ultimately a butchering of the brilliant Highsmith source novel. While certain things were done quite well (hate to say it, but Jude Law was a perfect Dickie Greenleaf, and, as David points out, the music choices were apt and carefully chosen) but for the most part Minghella completely misunderstood the Ripley character. He tries so hard to explain him, to provide some motivation for his evil apathy, but in the process softens him and makes him a far less interesting character than Highsmith intended.

Even worse, he overtly spells out the homosexual subtext of the story, which is only that - a subtext. Highsmith herself wrote that Ripley was not gay. In the series' subsequent novels (all incredible, by the way), Tom is in fact married and somewhat happily at that. His attraction to Dickie is not really a sexual one (Ripley is almost asexual); rather, it springs from the fact that Tom desperately covets everything that Dickie has and represents - his wealth, looks, charm and status. That he may also be sexually attracted to Dickie, and feel a little confused by this desire, is LOW on the list of reasons for why he murders his friend. If you just go by the film version, you'd think he kills Greenleaf mainly out of unrequited love/sexual rejection. Which is bollocks.

Minghella tried desperately to turn Ripley into a tragic figure. He's not. He's an amoral sociopath. He never questions his actions, or feels remorse for them. That's the point.


Exactly - I agree with all of this! The reason that TR kills DG is one of the biggest differences in the novel vs. the film. Minghella completely changes the character's persona & motivation - which, I agree, is garbage.

David Ehrenstein wrote:
Highsmith cut quite figure in the lesbian bars of postwar New York. She wrote one lesbian novel, "The Price of Salt," before hitting her stride with "Strangers on a Train," the Ripley series and others of note.


"The Price of Salt" was also titled "Carol". As a straight guy, I wasn't sure I could get into this novel too much, but I did actually enjoy this - it was very poignant.

Yes - Ripley is featured in four additional Highsmith books which are all great, and well worth reading.

Subsequently, I also read almost all of Highsmith's other, non-Ripley books, and she was definitely a great author of crime fiction. I like most of her work, except for possibly some of her last novels.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:44 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:19 pm
Location: Minnesota
Personally, this is one of my favorite films of the 1990s (or 2000s, if you prefer). I don’t see this film as a “coming out” tale or “psychopath” tale, though I certainly appreciate that it can be read that way. I see it as a story about someone who does not conform to any label (gay, straight, privileged, killer, victim, etc.), and he does not yet know what he is. Perhap he cannot know, given that he does not fit any particular type he's aware of. But at the same time, he’s desperately trying to fit into the uniform social statuses around him. He’s so incredibly vulnerable to the world that he becomes a chameleon to protect himself. Even so, he will never fit in.

Minghella was an incredibly empathetic filmmaker. He found the humanity beneath the surface of his thankless protagonists in The English Patient, Cold Mountain, and Breaking and Entering. I think he approaches Tom Ripley with the same empathy. He’s not trying to replicate Highsmith’s character; he adapting the character in a way he understands, by finding Tom’s human side and showing that to the audience. This is quite different than any other cinematic iteration of Tom Ripley, which usually show him as a calculating con man. Minghella shows Tom’s decisions as being motivated by emotional self-preservation—that they are crimes is merely incidental. And because each choice is emotional, the film builds into a great tragedy around Tom's futile search for identity.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
For me, the film plays as a tragedy given the ending, because he loses out on becoming whole and on something he genuinely desires in order to protect himself. And so, his life will indefinitely become a series of protective layers and lies; he’ll gradually form a protective shell and not be this vulnerable, sensitive guy any longer. The Tom you see in this film dies in a manner of speaking, which is incredibly sad. He’s burying himself in that last scene, which I find so devastating.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group




This site is not affiliated with The Criterion Collection