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The Talented Mr. Ripley(1999)
Tom Ripley is a calculating young man who believes it's better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody. Opportunity knocks in the form of a wealthy U.S. shipbuilder who hires Tom to travel to Italy to bring back his playboy son, Dickie. Ripley worms his way into the idyllic lives of Dickie and his girlfriend, plunging into a daring scheme of duplicity, lies and murder
For more about The Talented Mr. Ripley and the The Talented Mr. Ripley Blu-ray release, see the The Talented Mr. Ripley Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on January 22, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Davenport
Director: Anthony Minghella
» See full cast & crew
The Talented Mr. Ripley Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, January 22, 2013
Nominated for five Academy Awards, Anthony Minghella's "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (1999) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of StudioCanal. The supplemental features on the disc include original trailers for the film; audio commentary with director Anthony Minghella; cast and crew interviews; featurettes; and more. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley is based on the same novel by Patricia Highsmith which Rene Clement adapted with Paul Gégauff and filmed as Plein soleil a.k.a Purple Noon in 1960. The two films, however, are very different.
Mingella's film begins in New York City. It is the late 1950s and the young and handsome Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is working hard to make ends meet. After attending a lavish party where for a small amount of money he has been pretending to be someone else, Tom is approached by Herbert Greenleaf (James Rebhorn, Scent of a Woman, The Game), a wealthy and very conservative industrialist, who offers him $1000 to travel to Italy and bring home his playboy son. Tom immediately accepts the money and packs his bags.
In Italy, Tom quickly tracks down Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law, 360), who spends most of his time making love to his beautiful girlfriend Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow, Se7en), visiting trendy jazz clubs with his wild friend Freddie Miles (Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Big Lebowski), and sailing his boat. He "accidentally" meets Dickie and Marge on the beach and introduces himself as an old friend from Princeton, where Dickie once wasted some of his precious time. Dicke admits that he can't remember Tom, but invites him to have dinner with him and Marge.
Fastforward. Dickie and Marge like having Tom around so much that they welcome him in the beautiful house they rent. Then Dickie invites Tom on his boat and they travel to his favorite jazz clubs. Tom falls in love with Dickie's lifestyle and comes to realize that this is exactly how he should have lived his life. Then all of a sudden Dickie grows tired of Tom and asks him to leave.
Minghella's adaptation of Highsmith's novel is much more humanistic and forgiving than Clement's. The Talented Mr. Ripley also spends quite a bit of time highlighting the key differences between the two social groups Tom and Dickie belong to. The point the film attempts to make, it seems, is that one can't escape one's roots.
There are also some obvious homosexual undertones that change the entire complexion of the film. As Tom gets closer to Dickie, Minghella reveals a side of his personality that redefines how key relationships in the film are viewed. This also changes how one sees and judges Tom after the boat trip – instead of a dangerous chameleon, he becomes a lonely victim in a supposedly unjust world ruled by men with a lot of money.
In Purple Noon, Tom is played by the great French actor Alain Delon. I like his character better. He has the right instincts and can live with himself. He is a man on a mission prepared to gamble everything, even his own life. Damon's character is a young man trying to rediscover himself, looking for a way out. He gets his chances but it never feels like he knows exactly what to do with them.
The cast is good. Both Damon and Law deliver convincing performances. Paltrow also shines as the Dickie's intelligent girlfriend. Cate Blanchett and Philip Baker Hall have small cameos as well, though only the former impresses.
The film is complimented by a lush orchestral score courtesy of acclaimed Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared (Camille Claudel, Betty Blue).
Note: In 2000, The Talented Mr. Ripley was nominated for five Oscar Awards, including Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jude Law), Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published (Anthony Minghella), and Best Original Score (Gabriel Yared).
The Talented Mr. Ripley Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, The Talented Mr. Ripley arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of StudioCanal.
The high-definition transfer has been struck from a dated master - and it definitely shows. There are a few close-ups that look decent (see screencapture #17), but more often than not detail and clarity are simply not as pleasing as they should be. Elsewhere, even where there is plenty of natural light image depth is seriously compromised (see Gwyneth Paltrow's face in screencapture #18). Various compression artifacts are also extremely easy to see. Color reproduction does not impress. Color saturation in particular is quite problematic - the yellows, blues, browns, and greens consistently look anemic. Film grain is present, but it is not evenly distributed and more often than it is mixed with small amounts of noise. Occasionally, light edge-enhancement is also easy to spot (see screencapture #12). Flecks and scratches also pop up here and there. To sum it all up, StudioCanal's presentation of The Talented Mr. Ripley is average at best. The film clearly needs to be rescanned so that a new high-definition transfer is made for a new Blu-ray release. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
The Talented Mr. Ripley Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, StudioCanal have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
Unlike the video presentation, the audio presentation definitely pleases. The lossless track has a very good range of nuanced dynamic that greatly benefit Gabriel Yared's score. The jazz club performance in particular sounds great. The dialog is clean, stable, and easy to follow. There are no pops, cracks, or distortions.
The Talented Mr. Ripley Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Talented Mr. Ripley Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I find it a bit surprising that the late Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley is yet to appear on Blu-ray in North America. It is a good film with a solid cast that has plenty of fans. I still prefer Rene Clement's adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel, Purple Noon, with Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet, and Romy Schneider, but Minghella's film is definitely worth seeing. Unfortunately, StudioCanal's Blu-ray release leaves a lot to be desired. It represents a minor upgrade in quality over the now out of print R1 DVD release of the film, but there is plenty of room for very serious improvements. RENT IT.
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The Talented Mr. Ripley Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Talented Mr. Ripley Blu-ray - July 27, 2011
On September 12, British distributors Optimum Home Entertainment will release on Blu-ray Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, and Cate Blanchett. Technical specs and region coding status for this release ...
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