We received a free three month trial for HBO recently, and last night was the first time I actually watched an entire movie, The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) was nominated for many awards, and world wide grossed nearly $129 million with a production budget of $40 million.
There are some big name actors in it, although since it was made in 1999, based on a 1955 novel, they are even bigger now—Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, and Philip Seymour Huffman. The 1950s costumes and styles were very good as was the Italian scenery. Although the author of the book (was actually 5 books) denied that Ripley was homosexual—just confused--but he certainly is in the movie. He kills one desired lover who spurned him, one whom he loves, and a friend of the first who figured out his scam. On the list of 329 gay themed movies at Box Office Mojo, it is #4 in gross.
It’s very dark, but the main character, played by Matt Damon, is quite interesting and the viewer is dragged protesting into liking him, at least I did. Damaged but endearing. Tom Ripley is sent to Italy by Dicke’s father to bring him home, and instead falls in love with Dicke’s lifestyle and then Dicke, whom he later kills when he rejects him to marry his girlfriend Marge, and assumes his identity. He also has to kill Freddie, Dicke’s good friend who figures out his scam, and finally his lover Peter who is about to find out, but who knows him as Tom Ripley when others think he is Dicke.
The author of the novels on which the movie is based, Patricia Highsmith, was described by Otto Penzler, an acquaintance as “a mean, hard, cruel, unlovable, unloving person. I could never penetrate how any human being could be that relentlessly ugly." So perhaps that’s how she could draw such dark, evil characters to people her novels. Her own mother didn’t help much by telling her she wanted to abort her—had even tried. (Wikipedia)