The Talented Mr. Ripley
Starring: Matt Damon, Gwenth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Phillip Seymour Hoffman
With a handful of Golden Globe nominations (no awards), I am of two minds in reviewing this film at all. There is a certain segment of the Academy that loves this film; thus it might receive some attention at the Oscars. I will, however, spend little time as possible reviewing this seriously flawed film.
With great photography, a good supporting cast, and a pretty good story to work with, director Minghella failed to translate Highsmith's perplexing character, Tom Ripley. Matt Damon (Ripley) has taken some heavy "hits" from critics regarding his shallow performance in this film. I am one critic who places the blame completely on Minghella for his weak screenplay and poor direction. Damon is a young talented actor who has certainly proved his abilities in the past, yet in viewing Ripley one can almost feel him struggling in vain to find the dark center of this character. Minghella is more interested in getting great views of Italy's gorgeous scenery (which he does) than attaining a great performance from his actor.
Excellent performances by Jude Law, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Cate Blanchett and even Gwyneth Paltrow are not enough to save this disaster. The entire film rests on Damon's shoulders. Minghella's "softening" of his character in the screenplay leaves Damon "dangling in the wind", and the film literally falls flat. As a result, Damon does a good job playing likable Matt Damon attempting to play a bad guy. This high budget film is a complete waste of talent, photography and money. Forget the film and read the book.