Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
Tom Ripley - cool, urbane, wealthy, and murderous - lives in a villa in the Veneto with Luisa, his harpsichord-playing girlfriend. A former business associate from Berlin's underworld pays a call asking Ripley's help in killing a rival. Ripley - ever a student of human nature - initiates a game to turn a mild and innocent local picture framer into a hit man. The artisan, Jonathan Trevanny, who's dying of cancer, has a wife, young son, and little to leave them. If Ripley draws Jonathan into the game, can Ripley maintain control? Does it stop at one killing? What if Ripley develops a conscience?
Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr Ripley was my first introduction to Patricia Highsmith's murderous sociopath. This film set more than thirty years later catches up with Tom Ripley living a slightly quieter life than the one we last saw him in. With an older, wiser, and more distinguished John Malkovich taking center stage as Ripley, there is plenty of menace from Christopher Illinois's favorite son.
John Malkovich has a presence. He can take the most lackluster of roles and give it that something special that elevates it above the mediocre. Ripley's Game sees Malkovich's Tom Ripley help entice a mild mannered picture framer into becoming a hired killer after he overhears him insult his taste. Featuring Ray Winstone as Reeves,…
Wim Wenders' earlier adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s thriller novel of “Ripley’s Game” is one of my favourite films. Released in 1977 and renamed The American Friend with Dennis Hopper and Bruno Ganz in the two lead roles, it was a film that thrilled and entertained me from the very first moments all the way to the finale. I’d have no problems with proclaiming it a masterpiece and one of the greatest cinematic experiences I’ve enjoyed in years. The character of Ripley is perhaps most known by the film The Talented Mr. Ripley which details another era of Ripley’s life in a different novel; a brilliant film, but it has nothing on the force of Wim Wenders' classic.
Liliana Cavani’s adaptation…
When Malkovich plays it straight, you know you're in for something special.
"I'm a creation. A gifted improviser. I lack your conscience and when I was young that troubled me. It no longer does. I don't worry about being caught because I don't believe anyone is watching. The world is not a poorer place because those people are dead. It's one less car on the road. It's a little less noise and menace".
And Malkovich's performance is superb!
There's a sensuality to Ripley's Game that is reminiscent of a 80s Scorsese picture. I'm thinking The King of Comedy and After Hours mostly. But sexuality floods from certain frames of this film - maybe I'm projecting..but the visuals consume you in this equally parts thrilling and dark adaptation of Patrica Highsmith's third Ripley novel. And It's done right as far as I can tell.
The Talented Mr. Ripley is one of my favorite movies. But there's been endless complaints that Matt Damon's portrait of Ripley was not a good representation of Highsmith's intention. He had a conscious for one. So it would be a relief when John Malkovich, playing a much older and less fidgety Ripley, comes out and…
Being Matt Damon
starring John Malkovich as Matt Damon when he grows old and bald.
Quality Hitchcockian thriller that pales in comparison to THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, although I'd place the blame on Patricia Highsmith's source material which homogenizes Ripley into a less interesting character. On a personal level, I may have enjoyed it more if it was a completely unrelated story featuring totally original characters.
Either way, this is still a fine film more in line with STRANGERS ON A TRAIN than with the earlier Ripley tale. There are some extremely suspenseful scenes and the overall story is captivating. Malkovich plays Ripley as a very Malkovichian character naturally, and given the amount of time that has passed between TALENTED and GAME, he's almost believable as the same character (assuming he has grown more accustomed to his unconscionable actions). It suffers from being much more of a plotty film than the character study its predecessor was, but that doesn't hinder it's overall quality.
Interesting to see a different version of Patricia Highsmith's "Ripley's Game" shortly after viewing The American Friend. Initially, I liked this one a bit less, having been so taken by the style of the Wenders film and Bruno Ganz's performance as Jonathan. However, the Ripley character of this version is much more interesting than that of Dennis Hopper, and where the older film aces the style, this one succeeds in plotting and dialogue (without actually lacking style on its own - the visual palette is less varied, but it is still handsomely made). I would say the films are of comparable quality, and I would highly recommend them as a comparison piece for film enthusiasts. John Malkovich is perhaps the perfect Ripley, at least at this stage of the character's life.
I don't understand the impulse to make this film, knowing that THE AMERICAN FRIEND exists.
On the one hand, it’s John Malkovich as Tom Ripley (!!!) — and on the other hand, we’re stuck for most of the movie with dumb old Dougray Scott.
Viewed with fresh eyes, it can't help but pale slightly in comparison to the wild, brilliant The American Friend. Wim Wenders was wise to elide much of the Mr. & Mrs Trevanny subplot, which here is a rote time-waster with some cringeworthy line readings from Dougray Scott. Malkovich's Ripley remains definitive, and that final shot is still a wonder.
This is apparently considered the best of the "Ripliad" adaptions. Haven't read any of the books but I think readers like this one so much because Malkovich's Ripley most closely resembles that of the source material. For everybody else, Ripley's Game is an amusing thriller, but does not have have the depth or complexity found in other interpretations of the character.
“Tom Ripley - cool, urbane, wealthy, and murderous - lives in a villa in the Veneto with Luisa, his harpsichord-playing girlfriend. A former business associate from Berlin's underworld pays a call asking Ripley's help in killing a rival. Ripley - ever a student of human nature - initiates a game to turn a mild and innocent local picture framer into a hit man. The artisan, Jonathan Trevanny, who's dying of cancer, has a wife, young son, and little to leave them. If Ripley draws Jonathan into the game, can Ripley maintain control? Does it stop at one killing? What if Ripley develops a conscience?” – Letterboxd
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