Talented Mr. Ripley"
Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Kate Blanchett, Jack
140 minutes, Rated R, Miramax
Released December 1999
Directed by Anthony Minghella
Warnings: Adult situations, violence
30, 2000] Take
a talented, good-looking young man. Take away family; add poverty,
ambition, exposure to wealth, power and prestige; and add deception,
to formulate the perfect serial-killer wanna-be, Tom Ripley (Matt
this Hitchcockian thriller, Ripley gets his chance to be something
he is not.
1958, while working for tips as a bathroom attendant at a
Manhattan theater and filling in as a piano accompanist at a
high-society affair, Ripley meets Richard Greenleaf I (James
Rebhorn) and passes himself off as a Princeton classmate of
Greenleaf’s son "Dickie" (Jude Law). Greenleaf I
subsequently hires Ripley to go to Italy and bring his prodigal
makes the trip across aboard a luxury steamship, traveling in
first class, all expenses paid. Arriving in Italy, he searches out
Dickie, and completes the deception by again passing himself off
as a Princeton classmate who knew Dickie but probably was not
known to Dickie. They strike up a quick relationship, and together
with Dickie’s fiancée (Gwyneth Paltrow), explore the jet-set
lifestyle on the southern Italian Riviera.
discovers that Dickie has indeed been living the prodigal
lifestyle: a woman in every port, garish wealthy friends who would
do anything to escape boredom, and simple deceptions to wile away
the time with anything other than work. Unlike the biblical
prodigal, Dickie never had to resort to feeding the pigs because
daddy’s never-ending trickle of money never seemed to dry up.
continues to add to his deceptive skill set by quickly learning to
imitate the mannerisms of the wealthy prodigal Dickie. Later when
his money runs out, and Greenleaf I gives up on the return of his
son, he is violently rejected by Dickie and in a fit of rage,
kills handsome young Dickie Greenleaf. Gathering his skills,
"forging signatures, telling lies and doing impressions of
people," Ripley takes Dickie Greenleaf’s identity and for
the rest of the story impulsively plots to stay one step ahead of
being found out and being caught.
will need to make the call: when did the impoverished
who-am-I-this-time Ripley decide to pass himself off as the wealthy
and connected Dickie Greenleaf?
is a wonderfully-awful story. There are plenty of plot twists and
turns, and the ending is not predictable. The characters are
believable and they have a life of their own. You find yourself
immersed in the storyline, unable to escape, necessarily unwilling to
top of second column)
cinematography is awesome and breathtaking. I lived the scenery of
Southern Italy and Rome (I wanted to book my trip to Italy
immediately), a stark contrast to the scenery in the New York/New
Jersey shipyard where the story started.
acting is perfect. Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow once again deliver
award-class performances. And Jude Law was born to depict a wealthy,
the direction is wonderful. I found Minghella’s characters to be
completely believable. Nothing was missing or belonged on the
editing-room floor. The story was masterfully produced.
I can’t watch this movie again! The last 20 minutes were
excruciating, and I found myself unable to sit still waiting for the
resolution of this wonderful-miserable plot. And as I paced back and
forth with my eyes riveted to the screen, it became apparent that this
story would never be resolved, and I was left hanging at the end….
once is enough.
though I can’t watch it again, you need to rent it and watch it
once. I recommend it highly and know it is in stock at your local
video store. I give it 4½ stars out of 5.
your comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
in urban New York City, the day starts at Lincoln High School with
the students filing in. You notice their gang colors, their lack
of discipline, their feigned fights and their threats. You notice
the police at the door manning the metal detectors, the student
plots to smuggle contraband past the checkpoint, and the general
attitude of the administration: daily survival until retirement
and pension are obtained.
classrooms are unheated, the ceilings drip, windows are broken and
the wind blows through. One in three students have textbooks. The
students come from broken homes, impoverished inner-city homes,
homes where they are victimized rather than protected. The police
in this community take life rather than preserve it. In a society
which believes that education is the only possible salvation,
these children are being offered little of this element of grace.
"Light it Up," at least one teacher cares. Mr. Noland
[what – a pun: Noland = KnowLand?] (Judd Nelson) offers advice,
relationship and is even somewhat interesting in the classroom. On
the day that the window blew out in his classroom, he was advised
by the principal to take his students somewhere else, anywhere
else, which he did. He took them to a nearby diner, where while
teaching he foiled an armed robbery. The principal then proceeded
to suspend Mr. Noland for his irresponsible act of taking students
off school grounds and exposing them to great risk.
top of second column in this review)
group of students, led by Lester (Usher Raymond), protested the
dismissal of their favorite teacher, the only one who offered them any
hope at all. This protest escalated to a skirmish in which a uniformed
police officer (Forrest Whitaker) was accidentally shot, and finally
into a lockdown in which six students held the police officer hostage
against a police siege. And thus, the story began.
It Up" isn’t a bad movie. It seems to be a message movie that
states that there are urban pockets out there where children aren’t
being offered the same access to quality education. This is muted by
the cleansed presentation the movie is making: youth culture has it
all together and knows the answers, while the adults around them don’t
have a clue and are harming everyone around them by their ignorance
and hypocrisy. This movie is as one critic put it: "Dog Day
Afternoon" meets "Breakfast Club!"
it’s not just a message movie. The intent of this film is not to
educate but to entertain. The music in "Light It Up" is
excellent. The portrayal of the angst of the characters is perfect.
The organization of the film sorts out each character and clearly
defines their hopes, dreams and their history. And the plot is clear
from start to finish (narrated in docu-drama fashion). However,
because this movie seeks to entertain, the mission of "Light It
Up" has been compromised. You will probably not take the messages
of this movie seriously. "Light it Up" is watchable, but not
give this movie 2½ stars out of 5.
you noticed that Midge never seems to get out of the house. If you
want Midge to review new movies at the theatre, rather than videos,
send email to email@example.com.
Make the message line read: "Midge needs a life."