Tuesday, August 28, 2012
A Stellar Waste of a Talented Cast
There are so many problems with the Talented Mr Ripley - it is hard to know where to begin. Everything that director Anthony Minghella did right in The English Patient (1996) he managed to undo in this film.The running time of the English Patient was just around three hours and, in that time, Minghella wove a tapestry of complex characters doomed by circumstance. In Ripley he never gets to the point.
What drives Tom Ripley? is he just a sociopath for any reason? is Minghella trying to show us how a simple lie can force the hand of the purveyor? All are interesting questions that receive nary an explanation, but by far the most interesting question is why waste an incredibly talented cast in such a disjointed film?
With the exception of Jude Law’s performance, the cast is utterly wasted in totally undeveloped characters who just pass time on the screen - pass time indeed at a running time of just about two and a half hours. The poor pacing of the film caused it to drag more and more, making it seem as though the film would never end... and when it did there was no real resolution and, for lack of a better phrase, no point.
Mr. Ripley was, without a doubt, the largest waste of a cast I have ever seen, squandering the abilities of such wonderful actors as Philip Seymour Hoffman, Cate Blanchet, Gwyneth Paltrow, James Rebhorn and Philip Baker Hall, but the largest contribution to the worthlessness of the film was Matt Damon’s performance as Ripley. With no character development he had nothing to do at all except look senseless.
The subplot of the characters homosexuality was largely untouched (with the exception of a few fleeting glances) and the character’s inability to make decisions about what is affecting his life is totally ignored. It is unfortunate that the film does not live up to the spectacular source material (novel by Patricia Highsmith) or the first film version (1964’s plein soleil or purple noon), but more than anything else, the true tragedy is the time and energy wasted on such a mediocre, untalented and pointless film. Anderson TW
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