The Beautiful and Talented Mr. Ripley
More sinister and also more exquisitely filmed is Anthony Minghella’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999). Matt Damon plays Tom Ripley, a young sociopathic con man, who gets himself sent to Ischia to find and bring home the very wealthy Dickie Greenleaf, played by Jude Law.
Tom ingratiates himself into the life of Dickie (Jude Law) and his girlfriend Madge (Gwyneth Paltrow) until things turn ugly and Tom kills Dickie on a boat near San Remo. Back in Rome, Tom impersonates Dickie while also continuing his own life. He takes a room at St. Regis Grand Hotel (a stone’s throw from Santa Susanna) as Dickie Greenleaf, and another as Tom Ripley, to establish that both are alive and living in Rome. Then he rents a fantastic apartment in the Piazza Mattei next to the famous Turtle Fountain (Fontana della Tartaruga).
When the obnoxious Freddie Mills (played by the brilliant Philip Seymour Hoffman) suspects the sins Tom has committed, he confronts Tom and gets himself killed by Tom who smashes Freddie’s head with a Roman antiquity. Then, with the Turtle Fountain as an elegant backdrop, Tom carries Freddie’s body to his red sports car, pretending Freddie is drunk. Tom gets rid of both car and Freddie.
Maintaining his double identity and deception to both Madge and the naïve and wealthy Meredith (Cate Blanchett), Tom keeps up his pretense all the way back to Venice.
“The Talented Mr. Ripley,” though full of murder and deception, shows off Rome’s great beauty with the most amazing colors and cinematography. Set in the late 1950’s, we see the Piazza di Spagna, the Piazza Navona, the Ponte Sant’Angelo and the Opera House in all their glory.