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RIPLEY'S GAME

John Malkovich, Dougray Scott, Ray Winstone, Lena Headey, Chiara Caselli

Directed by: Liliana Cavani
Written by: Frank Deasy, Patricia Highsmith
Produced by: Dino De Laurentiis, Ileen Maisel
Distributor: Fine Line Features

US: 04/04/03
UK: 30/05/03

The continuing story of novelist Patria Highsmith's Tom Ripley. He's the career criminal who has amassed his wealth through various illicit activities, including murder. He is married and living in France, when the necessity arises to silence two foes who could reveal his dark past. Concocting an assassination plan, he makes a deal with a terminally ill English aristocrat desperate for money to rid him of his two enemies. .
MEDIA BUZZ
Associated Press 2 Sept 2002/

"It's like this. I'm Ripley, and it's all a game!!"



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Based on a much later series of events in the life of the talented Mr Ripley, this film boasts another of Patricia Highsmith's cleverly Hitchcockian plots but lacks the spark and energy of Anthony Minghella's earlier film. An older and wiser Tom Ripley (Malkovich) now lives in opulence in northern Italy with his wife Luisa (Caselli). But when annoying former cohort Reeves (Winstone) comes back into his life, Ripley plays a little "joke" on his naive British neighbour Jonathan (Scott), who happens to be dying of leukaemia: He suggests to Reeves that Jonathan can carry out a hit on a Russian mafioso. Soon events are spiralling out of control ... can Ripley maintain his constant cool and get them all out of it?

Cavani films the story elegantly, making nice use of the settings in both Italy and Berlin, coaxing understated, insinuating performances out of the cast and keeping things ticking ahead on two levels--what we see and what's really happening. There's a gentle stream of black humour and sly wit, although scenes progress with an almost painful slowness and tranquillity, despite the gruesome death lurking around every corner. In this sense, the film is very much like Hitchcock (especially the extended, increasingly tense train sequence). Even with their subdued energy, the cast is good. Malkovich does his Dangerous Liaisons slick-slimy routine, reining in his usual slick scene-chewing for more restrained displays of brainy humour. Winstone does virtually the same character he did so well in Sexy Beast, only this time with about half the brain cells; his bumbling British thug is great fun to watch. And Scott plays against type as a mopey blob of a man, dragged from innocence to guilt by one bad decision. With just a slight sense of pacing, this could have been a terrific dramatic thriller. As is, it's fascinating and entertaining, but rather dull as well.

 


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