The Talented Mr. Ripley

Not rated yet!
Director
Anthony Minghella
Runtime
2 h 19 min
Release Date
25 December 1999
Genres
Thriller, Crime, Drama
Overview
Tom Ripley is a calculating young man who believes it's better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody. Opportunity knocks in the form of a wealthy U.S. shipbuilder who hires Tom to travel to Italy to bring back his playboy son, Dickie. Ripley worms his way into the idyllic lives of Dickie and his girlfriend, plunging into a daring scheme of duplicity, lies and murder.
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  • Ten Favorite Films
    Vertigomovie_restoration

    [1]1,520 words

    Author’s Note:

    The following text is a scrap rescued from obscurity and buffed up a bit. In 2002, a reader of VNN suggested that the site’s movie reviewers post their “Ten Best” lists. I found it impossible to settle on just ten best films. So I decided to produce a “Favorites” list instead. I came up with more than thirty movies. These are films I like to re-watch and show to my friends. I think the list includes some of the best films ever made, but it also contains some that are pretty far from the best. So here are ten movies that are near the top of my favorites list.

    1. Network [2] (directed by Sidney Lumet, starring William Holden, Peter Finch, and Faye Dunaway)

    This is the best movie ever made. The story is wonderful, the script brilliant, the acting stunning, the satire cutting and hilarious, and the message serious and profound. Network shows how capitalism works in the realm of culture, how the culture industry works to debase public standards and corrupt public morals.

    The only real flaw of the movie is that it hides the role of Jews in the television industry and the general corruption of culture. The big villain is a blonde from the Midwest named Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) who somehow manages to corrupt, manipulate, and exploit the old-timers from the New York media (none of whom are portrayed as explicitly Jewish). The other villain, Mr. Jensen (Ned Beatty), also has a Scandinavian name. A former salesman from Oklahoma, Mr. Jensen has built a vast business conglomerate which has purchased the TV network of the title and wishes it to spread the Kojèvian gospel of the universal homogeneous consumer society.

    But it turns out that the network is not solely controlled by sinister Scandinavians. Some Semitic foreigners also want to buy in, so Howard Beale, the mad prophet of the airwaves, alerts America to the danger of the world’s most powerful tool of propaganda and brainwashing falling into the hands of . . . Saudi Arabians.

    These mounting absurdities should come as no surprise, though, given that the script was written by Marxist Jew Paddy Chayevsky.

    But greed alone—and therefore Marxism alone—is not enough to explain the behavior of the media. One can be a gentleman and a patriot and still make money. No, one must also add such elements as alienation from and hostility toward the dominant culture, boundless cynicism, and crazed, hate-filled ethnocentrism to the mix to explain the modern media. In short, one has to add Jews (and their spiritual kinsmen and collaborators).

    Favorite scenes: Howard Beale’s “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” speech; Mr. Jensen’s chilling “End of History”/”New World Order” speech; Mrs. Schumacher’s tirade to her cheating husband (four minutes of screen time that won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress); and any scene featuring the afro-headed, fried chicken slurping, gun firing, money-grubbing, bad-ass Commie Negroes Lorraine Hobbes and The Great Ahmed Khan.

    When is White America going to say, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”?

    2. Vertigo [3] (directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak)

    This is the other best movie ever made, and in terms of sheer beauty, it is far superior to Network. The story of Vertigo is a tragedy worthy of Euripides. The film is visually stunning, emotionally wrenching, and beautifully acted, with magnificent music by Bernard Herrmann [4]. Vertigo is so effective that I have to let a couple of years pass between viewings. One minor pleasure is that Vertigo is set in my favorite American city, San Francisco, and environs, and gives a glimpse of what a paradise urban life was in America before racial integration and non-white immigration.

    3. Pulp Fiction [5] (directed by Quentin Tarantino, starring John Travolta, Bruce Willis, and Samuel L. Jackson)

    Yes, I like Pulp Fiction. Why? Because the post-modern, consumerist world is a sewer. Pulp Fiction is a cool, funny tour of that sewer. But it has a serious side. It shows us the qualities of character that either raise us out of the sewer or drag us further down into it. The movie is filled with situations demanding moral decisions. The characters who are ruled by their appetites (John Travolta’s Vincent Vega and Uma Thurman’s Mia Wallace) make very different decisions and have very different fates than the characters who are willing to risk comfort, security, money, and even life itself in order to do what they think is right (Bruce Willis’s Butch and Samuel L. Jackson’s Jules Winnfield).

    Don’t be put off by the Negro characters and the race-mixing. No portrait of the sewer would be complete without them. My favorite scene is when the black gangster Marsellus Wallace offers Butch the same deal that modern bourgeois society offers us all: abandon our pride, abandon our principles and we can have money, comfort, security. Your soul is a small price to pay for all that, isn’t it America? Most Americans seem to agree.

    [See my extensive review-essay on Pulp Fiction here [6].]

    4. Blue Velvet [7] (directed by David Lynch, starring Kyle McLaughlin, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, and Laura Dern)

    This is more than a movie, it is a myth: It is a coming of age tale, an initiation tale, a descent into the underworld and resurrection tale. Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle McLaughlin) discovers evil in society and the potential for evil in his own soul. He also discovers the artifices that we create to keep evil in check. And finds the strength in himself to do battle against it.

    Lynch is not arguing that the idyllic White America of Lumbertown is somehow a fraud because it has an evil underbelly. That is the common Leftist misunderstanding of the movie. Lynch thinks that evil is not a product of a particular social system that can be abolished by social reform. Evil is metaphysical and will always be with us, and social conventions and artifices like those of Lumbertown are justified by keeping evil in check.

    I have seen this movie 25 times, and I still find Dennis Hopper’s Frank Booth absolutely terrifying. His performance is so compelling that he has been playing Frank Booth characters ever since!

    5. Ran [8] (directed by Akira Kurosawa)

    King Lear set in feudal Japan, Ran is pure poetry, one of the most beautiful movies ever made with exquisite music by Toru Takemitsu [9]. A lesson in Hobbesian political realism: authority without the ability to enforce it by violence is worthless; sovereignty is one and cannot be divided without lapsing into civil war.

    6. The Birds [10] (directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starting ‘Tippi’ Hedren and Rod Taylor)

    Another Hitchcock masterpiece set in San Francisco and points nearby, I read this movie as an anti-feminist allegory by the most extreme misogynist in film history. Melanie Daniels (played by the exquisite ‘Tippi’ Hedren) uses her wealth and social status to violate the laws of nature. She is independent, mischievous, and sexually aggressive in pursuing lawyer Mitch Brenner (played by the extremely masculine Rod Taylor). The forces of nature, in the form of the birds, punish her for her independence, and every attempt at self-assertion is struck down, until by the end of the movie she is reduced to a state of battered, shocked, almost comatose dependence on Mitch.

    7. Sunset Boulevard [11] (directed by Billy Wilder, starring Gloria Swanson, William Holden, and Erich von Stroheim)

    Dark comedy or tragic satire about Hollywood and the corrupting power of fame and money, this movie features an extraordinary performance by washed-up silent movie star Gloria Swanson as washed-up silent movie star Norma Desmond.

    8. The Bridge on the River Kwai [12] (directed by David Lean, starting Alec Guinness and William Holden)

    This is a tragedy that Sophocles could have written. It is David Lean’s best film: the directing, script, acting, and music are all superb. Fans of Evola’s The Metaphysics of Sex will appreciate seeing his contrast between the higher, Uranian and lower, Tellurian types of masculinity exemplified by Alec Guinness and William Holden respectively. There is also a splendid score [13] by Malcolm Arnold.

    9. The Talented Mr. Ripley [14](directed by Anthony Minghella, starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Cate Blanchett)

    I love this movie, and not just because I love its Italian settings. In spite of his being “a gay serial killer,” I found Matt Damon’s Tom Ripley a deeply believable, sympathetic, and moving character. Not only does Ripley have education and taste, he actually has a conscience, which is more than can be said for his first two victims. It is only because Ripley has genuinely good qualities that the movie turns tragic in the end as his powers of deception fail him, he thinks he is trapped, and he does not have the courage to come clean.

    10. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [15] (directed by Peter Jackson, starring Viggo Mortensen, Elijah Wood, Ian Holm, and Ian McKellen): See my review here [16], and my reviews of the subsequent movies here [17] and here [18]. The second movie in the trilogy, The Two Towers, turned out to be my favorite of the three.

    VNN, June 20, 2002

     

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Honor on the Death Star
    (”The Talented Mr. Ripley” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    stormtrooper

    [1]478 words

    Do Imperial Stormtroopers have honor?

    They are organized in fighting teams. They are expected to show strength and courage, and to demonstrate mastery of weaponry and fighting tactics. Many are killed or wounded in action. As there is evidence of rank, Stormtroopers who demonstrate loyalty and bravery are surely rewarded or promoted. If there is anything human about them, Stormtroopers would probably mourn and eulogize their dead comrades, though admittedly I can recall no evidence of this.*

    While soldiers of the Galactic Empire are viewed as evil enemies by members of the Rebel Alliance, and they are the “bad guys” in the Star Wars films, it seems likely that they would have the same sort of internal honor culture found in any military organization. They may be employed by an “evil” empire, but Stormtroopers would not be “evil” to each other.

    Within the context of their organization, we can reasonably assume that Stormtroopers have honor.

    It is only when we attempt to judge their actions or their mission from the Rebel perspective or according to some universal (or specific) idea of morality external to their organization that their “moral honor” comes into question.

    “Well, whatever you do, however terrible, however hurtful, it all makes sense, doesn’t it, in your head. You never meet anybody that thinks they’re a bad person.”

    — The Talented Mr. Ripley [2] (1999)

    Stormtroopers are fictional characters, but contemplating their honor culture is a useful exercise. Most men are familiar with Stormtroopers, but have no profound emotional connection to them.

    [3]To better understand the concept of honor, apply this exercise to soldiers in real armies anywhere, and at any time.

    The idea of honor comes up frequently in discussions about what soldiers do around the world today.

    A soldier’s honor can only be judged fairly within the context of his organization. If he is loyal and brave and respected by others within the context of that organization, he is honorable in that context. He may be your enemy, or he may fight for an organization which you consider to be immoral, or he may take actions on behalf of that organization that you consider to be immoral or contrary to your interests. This is an inaccurate and biased way of assessing his honor.

    A fighting man, by definition, cannot be a friend to all mankind.

    No man can, really.

    A man who is a friend to everyone has no real friends.

    Loyalty is preference; it requires discrimination.

    Note

    * For the purposes of this essay, I’m sticking to what you can see in the Star Wars films. If you look up Stormtroopers on Wookieepedia [4], there are all kinds of storylines and specifics for advanced Star Wars nerds. I picked Stormtroopers here because almost everyone has seen the Star Wars movies, and can identify the men in white armor as soldiers of an “evil” empire.

    Source: http://www.jack-donovan.com/axis/2013/02/honor-on-the-death-star/ [5]

     

    ...
    (Review Source)

Mark Steyn3
Fox News



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Enemy at the Gates
    (”The Talented Mr. Ripley” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Enemy at the Gates (15, selected cinemas) Stalking in Stalingrad Mark Steyn The old-time Hollywood execs would have identified the problem easily enough: Nazis vs Commies — who cares? The riposte, of course, is that, set against the thrilling backdrop of the siege of Stalingrad, this is a gripping cat-and-mouse tale of two snipers stalking each other and so drawing us into their primal struggle
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Shattered Glass
    (”The Talented Mr. Ripley” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    The self-glorying fantasies of NBC News "managing editor" Brian Williams multiply with every passing day, most recently and risibly his boast that he looked down the very tube of the RPG launcher that shot down the chopper in front - which is quite an
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Coffee & Cigarettes
    (”The Talented Mr. Ripley” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Australia Day looms on January 26th, which is a week from today New Hampshire time. But a week from today New Hampshire time Australia Day will have come and gone. In fact, it may already have come and gone: as the years go by, the Pacific time zones
    ...
    (Review Source)

PJ Media Staff1

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