Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Ripley's Game, 2002

RIPLEY’S GAME. This 2002 film by Liliana Caviani (THE NIGHT PORTER) seems to have slipped under the radar. It is the second film adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s novel “Ripley Underground”, the first being Wim Wenders’ 1977 THE AMERICAN FRIEND, a very hip iconic movie of the 70s ideally cast with Bruno Ganz as the dying picture framer Jonathan Trevanney and Dennis Hopper as Tom Ripley. Here we have the odd casting of John Malkovich as a rather effete now-wealthy Ripley who annoyed by Jonathan (Dougray Scott) lures him into being a hit man to provide for his family after his fatal illness. Ray Winstone is ideal as Reeves, the rather fleshy thug [with that unfortunate male companion in his hotel bed when the gang calls...] who needs a hitman to bump off a rival as he asks old chum Ripley for help, but its not clear why Ripley and Reeves need to lure an outsider into their crime scenario.

Jonathan carries out the first murder, but the second one on a train goes wrong, but Ripley is there to take charge and events move rapidly as they barricade themselves in at Ripley’s home, that rather chilly Palladian villa in the Italian Veneto he shares with Luisa his harpsichord-playing girlfriend, as the three goons come for the final shoot-out. The women’s roles are not very important here as Ripley, Jonathan and Reeves stay centre-stage. In all, an interesting addition to the Ripley canon. It seems Cavani left the troubled production and it was completed by Malkovich, but never got an American theatrical release, certainly worth seeking out now.

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