In 1960, French filmmaker René Clément was the first to adapt Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 novel ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ for cinema – Anthony Minghella returned to it 40 years later with Matt Damon and Jude Law in the roles of Tom Ripley and Dickie Greenleaf, played here by Alain Delon and Maurice Ronet. Set in Italy, this sun-bleached, louche thriller, infused with a lively, on-location documentary style, tells how Ripley arrives from the US as an envoy of Greenleaf’s father, charged with bringing the rich, dissolute son back home. But Ripley’s growing infatuation with his wealthy friend turns murderous, and Greenleaf’s girlfriend, Marge (Marie Laforêt), is one of many caught up in a tale of deceit and desperation. In this version, it’s Delon – impossibly beautiful, impossible to read, cold, cool – who steals the film, and the most powerful scenes are on Ripley’s yacht, when Clément allows himself most freely to indulge the story’s otherwise muted homoerotic edge. Clément changes the ending so it’s less satisfactory than both the Highsmith and Minghella versions, but he succeeds in making his film as beautiful on the surface and strange and sinister below deck as Ripley himself.
Cast and crew