Tom Ripley (played by John Malkovich) is a dedicated art lover. He lives with his wife, Luisa (by Chiara Caselli) in a stylish villa near Venice. He’s also a cool, but sinister swindler and he has just returned from a trip to Berlin, where he sold $3 million-worth of art forgeries to his one-time partner Reeves (by Ray Winstone). Some time later, Reeves arrives at Ripley’s villa – he needs Ripley’s help to eliminate a Russian rival who threatens to move in on his territory in Germany. Ripley considers this dangerous task and proposes that they select a total innocent as the assassin, whom they would pay handsomely of course. He knows the perfect candidate – his mild-mannered local picture framer Jonathan Trevanny (by Dougray Scott), who is terminally ill and will soon need money to leave to support his wife (by Lena Headey) and their son. This will be the perfect plan – as long as Ripley can maintain control of everything – but can he?
I previously enjoyed the deeds of Patricia Highsmith’s character, Tom Ripley, when he was played by Matt Damon in the 1999 movie “The Talented Mr. Ripley” … but this Ripley is better. In fact, the entire movie is much better. Although he is still cool, unflappable and conniving, there is a far more menacing edge to Tom Ripley these days. John Malkovich is perfect to play this role – I don’t think he cracks a smile for the entire movie and when he wants to convey a message, often no dialogue is required. His performance is stunning. The atmosphere throughout the movie is dark and moody – in perfect support of the plot. The movie is elegant and well done. It is a good thriller.
Made in 2002. Directed by Liliana Cavani