Review by: Katherine Kaminsky | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: None listed
FOLLOWING the success of The Talented Mr Ripley comes another
adaptation from the Patricia Highsmith books.
Ripley's Game is set 20 or so years after the events of Anthony
Minghella's movie. Tom Ripley, now played by John Malkovich, is
in his forties, happily married and living in Northern Italy.
His wife (Chiara Caselli) is a harpsichord virtuoso and they
live in a restored mansion, surrounded by works of art.
When his taste is insulted by neighbour, Jonathan Trevanny (Dougray
Scott), Ripley seeks revenge, and, when he discovers Trevanny
is dying of leukaemia, decides to play a game with his destiny.
Old acquaintance, Reeves (Ray Winstone), wants a Russian Mafia
rival assassinated, but needs someone totally unconnected to carry
out the crime.
Ripley suggests the naive Trevanny, who is struggling to support
his wife (Lena Headey) and young son. Reeves, with the subtle
help of Ripley's orchestration, lures Trevanny to commit murder,
with the temptation of financial security.
Trevanny is an unlikely assassin, but finally succumbs, believing
himself to be doing the best thing possible for the family he
won't be able to provide for.
Satisfied his manipulative game has been won, Ripley is then
surprised to learn that Trevanny has developed a taste for his
new occupation, and the two team up in an unlikely union when
the Mafia trace the killings to Reeves.
This dark comedy is a fascinating look at an ugly side of human
nature. Scott is excellent as a victim of inadequacy, who is easily
persuaded to suspend his morals.
His actions are, to him, justified when he hears of the evil
deeds of his prey. The character then transforms and appears exhilarated
Winstone is reliably menacing as the amusingly uncouth Reeves,
who befriends Trevanny for his own purpose, and Malkovich is perfect
as the Iagoesque Ripley.
His underplayed, sardonic delivery is well matched to the chilling
remarks he makes.
Ripley's philosophy seems to be if someone is in the way, kill
them. We've seen Malkovich play a few psychopaths in the past,
but his Ripley has the same appeal as Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal
Lecter - you almost side with their twisted logic.
Perhaps because they seem cultured, you are left feeling secure
that their victims deserved their fate, whereas, of course, you
would be allowed to live...