Ripley’s Game


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Rating: R

John Malkovich as Tom Ripley
Uwe Mansshardt as Terry
Hanns Zischler as Art Dealer
Paolo Paoloni as Franco
Maurizio LucĂ  as Franco’s Assistant
Dougray Scott as Jonathan Trevanny
Ray Winstone as Reeves
Evelina Meghangi as Maria
Chiara Caselli as Luisa Harari
Lena Headey as Sarah Trevanny
Sam Blitz as Matthew Trevanny
Lutz Winde as Ernst
Nikolaus Deutsch as Dr. Wentzel
Wilfried Zander as Belinsky

Special Features:

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
DTS Dolby Digital Surround Sound
English and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 110 Minutes

Ripley’s Game is based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith. While it is not a sequel to the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Matt Damon, it is a continuation of the character’s story. Ripley’s Game was also made into the 1977 film “The American Friend” starring Dennis Hopper.

As Tom Ripley has grown older, he has refined his taste in art and music. He has also settled into an Italian villa with a girlfriend and become incredibly wealthy thanks to his black market dealings. Despite the appearance of sophistication, he’s still an antisocial homicidal maniac.

When his former Ukranian mob associate Reeves shows up, he asks Ripley to assassinate a competitor for him. While Ripley declines the offer, he comes up with an alternative solution. He suggests getting a complete innocent to play the role of hit man. Ripley also happens to have the perfect candidate. Jonathan Trevanny is a local picture framer who is short on money and has a terminal illness. He also insulted Ripley at a party. For this, Ripley believes he’s the perfect candidate to become a hit man. Sure enough, Ripley’s instincts prove correct and Jonathan makes his first kill. But when he’s asked to kill again, will Ripley’s newfound conscience make him stop Jonathan before it’s too late?

Ripley’s Game is rated R for strong violence and language, some sexuality.

The Movie:
I’ve never read the Ripley novels and I never saw The Talented Mr. Ripley, so I can’t comment on how this film compares to them. However, I’m a fan of John Malkovich and I was in the mood for a dramatic thriller, so this was a movie I was eager to see. While Ripley’s Game held my attention the entire time, it wasn’t quite as exciting or clever as I hoped it would be. I kept hoping that the film would jump up to the next level, especially during the climax, but it never happened. However, while it’s more the caliber of a TV movie, I do think it’s worth checking out.

John Malkovich is excellent as Tom Ripley. He plays the character with the right mixture of sophistication and psychotic tendencies. His Ripley comes across as a more human, less cannibalistic version of Hannibal Lecter. Malkovich does a good job of transitioning the character from a man out for revenge to a man with a conscience. In a twisted way, you believe his character starts caring for Jonathan as he helps him carry out his hits.

Dougray Scott isn’t quite as impressive as Jonathan Trevanny, but he gets the job done. His transition from innocent picture framer to mob hitman was a little harder to swallow, but Scott does the best he can in the little movie running time available. Evelina Meghangi is beautiful as Maria and so is Lena Headey as Sarah Trevanny, but the spotlight is rarely on them. Ray Winstone as Reeves is also an appropriately slimy mob boss.

On a side note, this DVD repeatedly malfunctioned in my player. I don’t know if it was unique to my home theater system or not, but on several occasions the disc would freeze up or pop back to earlier parts of the film.

The Extras:
There are no extras included on this DVD.

The Bottom Line:
Ripley’s Game is an interesting dramatic thriller. If you’ve read the Ripley novels or seen Matt Damon’s film, then you’ll probably be interested in this. I don’t know if it measures up to the others, but I think it’s a decent film worth checking out. It’s not spectacular, but it’s not bad either.