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The Past | The Previous

Ripley's Game.

i never sat through the whole of the Talented Mr. Ripley. at the time, i was working as a projectionist, and the nature of the job is to switch between films, catching a bit here, a bit there, and a bit talking to other staff members, or a bit phoning your friends. (never let anyone tell you that being a projectionist is a hard job, since, unless something goes wrong, it's a bludge. it also, in my experience, has the biggest collection of alcoholics, drug addicts, and unhealthy sexual deviants that you can find outside an avon lady meeting.)

(those avon ladies are pretty fucked up, i hear.)

anyhow, so i watched the Talented Mr. Ripley, but didn't think enough of it to go and sit in a cinema and watch it from beginning to end. matt damon was a bit of a turn off, gwyneth paltrow was more, and anthony minghella directed the English Patient, which, despite my love for michael ondaatje, was not a boring film. it was also heavy when made up, which counts against a film when you're a projectionist and you have to carry films down six flights of steps.

which, in a round about way, leads me to Ripley's Game, which promised more with john malkovich, ray winstone, and director liliana cavani, and yet, it failed. don't get me wrong, it's not a bad film. there are some fine sequences there, and it looks beautiful, the music is good, and the performances all fine. it's just that it feels like a sequel, another adventure in which the morally lacking ripley (malkovich) kills, turns one man's life around, and is essentially unchanged at the end. there's no tension in it, though malkovich is quite good as ripley, and winstone great as reeves. dougray scott, the innocent man dying, and who is convinced to murder mob men for winstone for fifty thousand dollars a pop, isn't bad, but doesn't really convince you in his role. he picks up the killing thing a little too easily, making the transition from window frame maker to assassin in one small step, really.

which i suppose is where the film falls down, because you (well, i) never believed in the changes that were going on, and never understood why ripley gave a damn. if he is so morally lacking, why does he charge into the house to save the family at the end? why doesn't he sacrifice dougray and his family, like the sheep they obviously are?

that would have made the film more enjoyable i think, and ripley more chilling, and would have, i think, alleviated the film of the feeling that it was nothing more than just another tom ripley adventure in wacky old italy.