We all know Matt Damon can act. But if someone were to disagree, you’d have to show them this film. His, along with every single performance in The Talented Mr. Ripley, is top notch. Everything he does is so subtle, yet so calculated, that you believe it all. Or you’re not sure what to believe. You see the brood amidst the confidence.
Here, he plays Tom Ripley, a brilliant sociopath who uses his deception skills to fake his wealth. But the thing is, we the audience see every move he makes. It’s the other characters who are being tricked.
In fact, Damon is so convincing that it’s not until after the film is over when you realize there’s nothing to like about his character at all.
Beautifully shot with authentic set design, The Talented Mr. Ripley leads us in the direction of a truly Hitchcockian feature in every way–the experimentation of narrative, the pseudo-protagonist, and even the signature blonde.
You have to applaud this film for keeping the audience on their toes. The story is constantly changing. Resetting its goals. Much like when our brains shift a bit when Janet Leigh dies half way through Psycho. We feel like it should end there. Wouldn’t most movies?
Leaving us sitting up in our chairs, it becomes reminiscent of The Master of Suspense, himself. But then, all of a sudden, things change, and it no longer seems that way at all. You realize it keeps avoiding some sort of conclusion. Dancing around it, actually. And usually when films continue on like this, you expect a redeeming ending. However, without giving anything away, we don’t get one.
When the movie is constantly showing us its hand, we are left wondering why. Maybe something bigger and better is around the corner. Maybe they’re saving the real twist for the very end. The story has so many chances to give us something grand, but they all fall by the wayside.
Director, Anthony Minghella, definitely has the creepy and suspenseful tone down. And he pulls the best performances from his actors. He does a very good job, given the source material. But his the biggest impression he’s left here may be how he gets us to look at Damon in a much different way.