Review Date: July 8, 2000
Released by: Paramount
Release date: 6/27/2000
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes
Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is a nobody. He is a young, poor man living on his own in a tiny, rundown apartment that is surrounded my noisy neighbors. One day that all changes when Tom fills in for an injured piano player at a party. He borrows the Princeton jacket belonging to the injured piano player to wear while performing so he can look professional. Herbert Greenleaf (James Rebhorn) notices Tom's Princeton jacket and introduces himself. He asks Tom if he remembers his son Dickie (Dickie Greenleaf), who also went to Princeton. Tom, not wanting to admit that he never actually went to Princeton, asks how Dickie's been, beginning the spiral of lies and deceit that become his life.
Herbert is impressed with Tom and later asks him to travel to Italy to bring his son Dickie back home. Dickie is in Italy with his girlfriend Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow), where they spend the days sail boating and spending Dickie's allowance. Herbert wants him back in the US in hopes of getting him into the shipbuilding business that he's created, and he believes Tom is the man that can get him back. Tom agrees to the job for a price of $1,000 dollars and heads off to Italy.
Once in Italy Tom begins spying on Dickie and Marge as they sail and lie out on the beach. Tom purposely bumps into them on the beach, pretending to know Dickie and telling him that they went to Princeton together. Dickie doesn't remember Tom but admits that most of his school day memories are hazy. Marge invites Tom to lunch and there he begins to become friends with Dickie after he confesses that he was sent there to bring him home. Tom moves in with Dickie and the three begin spending a lot of time together sailing, dancing and partying.
When Dickie's friend Freddie Miles (Philip Seymour Hoffman) shows up Tom's happiness begins to crumble. Dickie soon forgets about Tom and begins spending all of his time with Freddie. On a boating trip Freddie embarrasses Tom by catching him peeping on Dickie and Marge while they're having sex in a cabin below. Soon Dickie disinvites Tom on a skiing trip they had planned, saying he'd slow them down since he didn't know how to ski. Tom isn't about to let his happiness end, however, and when Dickie asks Tom to leave for good things really begin to heat up. Dickie is missing and Tom soon begins to take over his identity - telling people he is Dickie Greenleaf, forging his signature, using his money, passport, clothing and more. As Tom begins living the life of two different people his sanity beings to crumble. People begin to suspect Tom as a culprit behind Dickie's disappearance, but these people don't realize they're dealing with the talented Mr. Ripley who will stop at nothing to avoid going back to his miserable life in New York.
This was my first time seeing The Talented Mr. Ripley so I wasn't sure what to expect. Some of my family and friends saw the movie, telling me it was long, boring and not very good. I somewhat agree with them on one point - the movie is a bit long. That's a minor complaint, however. I found The Talented Mr. Ripley to be a wonderful movie with a great story, great acting and directing. Matt Damon did a wonderful job as Tom Ripley, portraying a character we know is bad, but one that we still end up sympathizing with and rooting for (at least I did). Not a movie gore fiends are going to take pleasure in, and perhaps not a movie most horror fans till enjoy. The Talented Mr. Ripley falls into the thriller category and it may not have you on the edge of your seat or give you nightmares, but it will probably have you biting your nails in antipcation of what's going to happen next and whether Mr. Ripley is going to finally get caught.
Paramount Home Video presents The Talented Mr. Ripley in it original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 in a splendid anamorphic transfer. The transfer is pristine with no signs of blemishes or grain during playback. Colors are solid and well balanced throughout the entire film with no noticeable grain.
The Talented Mr. Ripley is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Surrounds aren't used to much in the film, which is not surprising given that there aren't too many scenes where they can be used. But when they are used you hear it and everything is well balanced. No distortion hear in dialogue or soundtrack.
Paramount has never labeled any of their DVDs as special editions, but The Talented Mr. Ripley certainly falls into that category, containing a good amount of extra material. First up is the amazing commentary track from director Anthony Minghella. This is, quite literally, the most informative commentary track I've ever heard (notice I don't say best, as that crown is still held by Evil Dead 2 - but mainly for being so humorous). Anthony Minghella talks nonstop throughout the entire film, with almost no gaps in the commentary. Even more amazing, all of the information he gives is informative and quite interesting. He's a good communicator and I didn't find myself bored at all. I was amazed by all the little things he pointed out in the film that I never noticed before. He also gives his feelings about the case and crew, and how he knew Matt Damon was perfect for the part after seeing him in Good Will Hunting. I also enjoyed how he pointed out what he changed from the novel. Another interesting thing to note is that when I started the commentary track my wife came in and started watching it with me (she'll generally do this for a few minutes and then leave out of boredom). Well, this time she stayed the entire way through and when I wanted to pause the movie to go do some errands she wouldn't let me. She was also quite engrossed by the commentary and after finishing it all she had to say was, "this guy is a genius". I agree with her. The commentary is amazing and it really allows you to appreciate and know more than you ever could on your own. Excellent job to Paramount for creating a commentary track on this one.
Next up is the Inside The Talented Mr. Ripley featurette that runs about 22 minutes. It has some behind-the-scenes shots, as well as the cast and crew explaining their parts, why they did the film and their feelings toward the film. What I found most interesting was director Anthony Minghella explaining why he choose he particular actor for their given part. Not a spectacular featurette but at 22 minutes it isn't just a long trailer like most of the short featurettes tend to be. Fans of the film will definitely enjoy this.
Also included is about 15 minutes worth of interviews with the cast and crew. It's mostly the director explaining the characters and then it cuts to the actors giving their thoughts about their particular character. A lot of this is in the featurette, but this is a bit more in-depth.
Also included are two music videos - "My Funny Valentine" performed by Matt Damon and The Guy Barker International Quintet, and "Tu Vuo' Fa L'Americano" performed by Fiorello, Jude Law, Matt Damon and The Guy Barker International Quintet. Lastly, there is a Making of the Soundtrack featurette that runs about 8 minutes and two theatrical trailers - teaser and theatrical. All said and done this is a fairly hefty special edition and I must say I did enjoy most of the extras, with the commentary being the gem that scores the extra material an A- rating.
An excellent movie with lots of enjoyable extra material on the DVD. If you haven't seen The Talented Mr. Ripley I highly recommend you at least rent this DVD, if not buy it straight up. Any fans of psychological thrillers should enjoy this movie, and the extras, along with the high quality audio/video presentation are bound to be a treat for any fans of the film.
Movie - B+
Image Quality - A-
Sound - A-
Supplements - A-
- Running time - 2 hours 18 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- English Dolby Digital 5.1 sound
- French Dolby Surround
- English subtitles
- Commentary by director Anthony Minghella
- Inside The Talented Mr. Ripley featurette
- Making of The Talented Mr. Ripley soundtrack featurette
- Cast and crew interviews
- "My Funny Valentine" music video
- "Tu Vuo'Fa L'Americano" music video
- 2 theatrical trailers