Starring: Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow
Director: Anthony Minghella
Running Time: 138 mins
The Talented Mr. Ripley is an American film about a charismatic young man who is dispatched to Italy to retrieve a wealthy New York steel merchant’s galavanting son, but who soon ingratiates himself into the upper echelons of a community of wealthy bohemian expats.
Delivering devilishly intricate, high-stakes thrills in sleek fashion throughout, The Talented Mr. Ripley is an enormously captivating watch. Bolstered by a spectacular A-list cast and gorgeous locations, this is an immensely entertaining thriller, albeit a little on the long side for its own good.
We’ll talk more about that in a moment, but there’s no looking past one of the biggest appeals of this movie: the cast. Headed by a young Matt Damon, the film is full of talent wherever you look, as different characters weave in and out of the story as it progresses.
Damon is undoubtedly the star of the show, with a darkly charismatic performance on the level of Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can, albeit impressively bringing some darker, more unnerving tones to his character that only add to the unsettling intrigue of this film.
Alongside are the likes of Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Cate Blanchett and many more, all of whom bring an extra level of charisma to the table. None of them play quite as central a role to the film as Damon, but they all make a big impact in their relatively fleeting appearances, bringing their characters nicely into play as the plot unfolds.
And that’s one of the things that works so well about The Talented Mr. Ripley. It may have an all-star cast to wow you on the surface, but the screenplay is a very well-plotted, intricate tale, which weaves around in thoroughly captivating fashion.
Starting off almost as a sun-baked take on The Great Gatsby, the film evolves organically into an intense and intriguing mystery thriller. The opening act does drag a little as we get to the point where things begin to change, but once the film gets into its stride as a proper thriller, it’s undeniably enthralling to watch.
Bolstered by gorgeous visuals that combine spectacular Italian locations with sleek cinematography throughout, The Talented Mr. Ripley unfolds in gripping fashion right to the last moment, always holding a twist or two in its pocket just to keep you on tenterhooks.
There are admittedly times when things might seem a little far-fetched, but the film grounds itself with its use of darker drama, only helped by Matt Damon’s magnetic central performance.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Talented Mr. Ripley. It’s not quite a perfect thriller, but it’s one that features very few dull moments, all the while unfolding in slick, exciting fashion with an intricate screenplay, eye-catching visuals and a spectacular cast. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.9.