EST. 2009

July 26, 2021

That Seaside Thrill

I CAN NEVER QUITE DECIDE WHO FASCINATES ME MORE. The talented Tom Ripley, with his dexterity to deceive, or the reckless but captivating Dickie Greenleaf, with his luscious looks and lavish lifestyle. How I feel about each character remains unchanged since first seeing the film in the 90s. I rewatch it over two decades later to find myself still enthralled by both Tom and Dickie's flair for amorality.

Of course, Anthony Minghella's touch makes it all attractive. Filmed in various villages on the Italian islands of Ischia and Procida, the fictional Mongibello provides a sumptuous setting for the sun-soaked thriller based on Patricia Highsmith's 1955 novel. Casting helps too, with some notable performances by Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, and Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Marge Sherwood as the perfect sweetheart and foil to Tom and Dickie's darker personas.

Although I consider René Clément's 1960 film version as one of my all-time favorite films, in part for starring Alain Delon, Minghella's adaptation entrances me just as well. The main characters are both truly vile, and yet both characters, in both films, demonstrate the deceptive powers of beauty and affluence.

There is no question as to how The Talented Mr. Ripley earned its way into summer film lists everywhere. See it for a bit of suspense, and plenty of splendor.

The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1999. Directed by Anthony Minghella.