Hey folks, Harry here with a followup report from our contributing raving lunatic, R.P. McMurphy. A followup? Yes, you see a few months back he wrote a script review... and now he's seen the finished film. In addition we have... the Endorphine Rancher's ejaculatory review of the film. Well given what I've heard on this film, opinions have been split. And it's probably going to stay that way, but to kick this show off, here's R.P...
Hey, R.P. McMurphy here. I know you've received quite a few reviews of The Talented Mr. Ripley so far, but I thought a review of the (unfinished) film would make a nice companion piece to the script review I wrote a couple months back.
It turns out that quite a lot has been lost in the translation from the intelligent script, to the film, which in the stage I saw it in, is unfocused, uneven, inconsistent; there are sporadic moments of genius here, but none of the coherence or poetic beauty of The English Patient.
The script gave the character of Tom Ripley a detailed backstory, in which his obsession with the lifestyle of Dickie and Marge grew out of his desperation to escape his pathetic existence. In the finished film, Ripley is agreeably ambiguous, but the backstory would have made him the emotional center of the film, and the audience would have been invited to share in his demented perspective. However, with the character remaining more theoretically interesting, the movie is often detached and somewhat dull.
That's not to say that there aren't some wonderfully tense scenes. The scene in the rowboat between Ripley and Dickie is especially vivid. Most of the cast goes horribly over-the-top, I'm afraid to say. Gwyneth Paltrow uses many false mannerisms, including fluttering eyelids to indicate emotional bewilderment. I loved her in Shakespeare in Love, but the Academy may have recognized her a bit early in her career. Cate Blanchett is equally laughable. With these performances, it seems like Anthony Minghella is going for a more consciously phony melodrama than the emotionally effective and true use of melodrama in The English Patient. Why? I have no clue.
Matt Damon does quite well though. He starts off a bit bland, but handles his emotional scenes much more realistically than his costars (I haven't mentioned Jude Law, but his work here is as disappointingly superficial as that of Paltrow and Blanchett).
Minghella botches up the pacing. Some scenes move slowly, and others move briskly, with no constant rhythm. There are still signs of his artistry: his use of reflective surfaces to represent Ripley's shifting identity is brilliant. And the closing scenes are beautifully executed. I believe a half hour has been cut since the first test screening. The film would've worked best as either a three-hour character study (of Ripley, of course) or a 105-minute taut, Hitchcockean thriller. As of now it's an odd, shapeless 150 minutes. I believe it was wrong for the studio(s) and Minghella to cut so much. The character of Ripley is still fairly fascinating, and there are moments of suspense and intelligence. But there's much more potential here, potential that was definitely in the script draft I read. The movie is far from awful, but with its lack of an emotional center and sturdy narrative structure, I doubt it will be the awards contender Miramax is hoping for.
Until next time,
And here's the Endorphine Rancher...
I just saw an advanced screening of THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY and it was epic.
The first thirty and last thirty minutes are awe inspiring filmaking. The cut I saw was 2:20 and the middle could have been trimmed a bit. They were all beautiful scenes, but some didn't do much for the story. Cut em.
What a story it is. TTMR reminded me of the best of HITCHCOCK. It had the intellectual underbed of ROPE, the grandure of NORTH BY NORTHWEST, and the twistedness of PSYCHO.
The film is truly errie. Matt Damon does an awesome job. He's ambitious to take on the role. The film deals with the theme of repressed homosexuality frankly. The motivation for the murders is as much about repressed sexual desires as it is anthing else. I think this is the kind of theme HITCHCOCK would have explored in ROPE had the sexual mores of the time allowed it. Is the American public ready? I hope so.
I havn't read the story or seen the french film based on the book so I was shocked, along with most of the theater, at the films twists.
When the first murder sails on screen it is truly jarring. I can now imagine the kind of impact the most shocking scene in movie history had on moviegoers: ie. When Janet Leigh gets diced in the shower in PSYCHO. If this is a spoiler for anyone, then you need to see more movies.
The fill also deals with identity in a way that the big fat master of suspense would drool over. Characters seen through mirrors and distored reflections is a motiff that beautifully illustrates the idea throught the film.
I could go on and on but I dont want to ruin anything. just see the movie, it will be well worth the price of admission, then we'll talk. I hate when reviewers let the cat out of bag on surprising films. Note to asshole reviewers: DON"T LET THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG, IT WILL PEE ON THE RUG.
I had a critic tell me that ALL recent HOLLYWOOD movies are trash. Well I've seen AMERICAN BEAUTY, FIGHT CLUB, and TTMR in the last month. These were all really great movie going experiences with TTMR being the best of the three. So if this trend keeps up, All I can say is keep putting out the trash and I'll keep coming to the theater.
PEACE OUT: THE ENDORPHINE RANCHER