The Talented Mr. Ripley ★★★½

A movie I liked a lot more before I read the novel(s) it was based on, and maybe that isn't fair. Parts of it work beautifully - it looks fantastic, thanks to the golden-hued cinematography by John Seale and the instantly iconic costuming by Ann Roth and Gary Jones nailing down it's very end-of-the-1990s view of 1950s Europe. And the supporting cast is outstanding; Jude Law is such an absolutely note-perfect Dickie Greenleaf it's almost funny, Gwyneth Paltrow was probably the only real choice in 1999 to play the type of role she has here, and Cate Blanchett and the god Philip Seymour Hoffman show just what you can do when you go super hard on a throwaway part. That being said, I kind of think Matt Damon, and in a broader sense Anthony Minghella's take on Tom Ripley, is all wrong. Part of me likes that they go so heavy on the queer reading of the movie (which was already pretty explicitly spelled out in the book, but the movie takes it a little further), but they lean so hard on the "jilted lover" reading of Ripley to the expense of everything else that's interesting about the character, his calculating opportunism and his insinuating charm. This Ripley is all slouch and self pity and it's frankly all on Jude Law to sell that Dickie would at all want to spend time with him. The script also needlessly overcomplicates what's actually a pretty straightforward story, and 140 minutes is just way too long for a movie like this. As a '90s thriller, it's pretty solid with some very rewarding bits, but as a Ripley movie, it's near the bottom of the list. Anyway, how's the peeping?

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