The Talented Mr Ripley

I was on way my to the bus stop when I bumped into Simon. “Hi Simon,” I said, “how’s it going?” “Good,” replied Simon looking slightly startled, “new job and things are fine.” “College seems such a long time ago now,” I said, “I’ve just started a new job as well, in Queens’ Square. Still, better get going, late for the bus, but we should meet up one lunchtime.” “Nice idea,” he said and we parted. I walked ten yards up the road and thought he knew that I knew that he wasn’t the Simon I knew at college but seeing my initial conviction decided that perhaps he was Simon even though he wasn’t.

Belief. If you believe hard enough anything seems possible and so it was in The Talented Mr Ripley. Except in the Academy Award nominated 1999 film directed by Anthony Minghella, Matt Damon as the eponymous Ripley (me) and Jude Law was Dickie Greenleaf (Simon). I’m not sure who was Gwyneth Paltrow but like the film the moment with the non-Simon Simon, conviction that you are someone else is everything.

It was great to the Spanish Steps in Rome without thousands of holiday makers sitting down exhausted by the constant battle to every ruin in three days and tired looking men selling wilting roses in the suspense-filled thriller. And the saturated colour of a recreated 1950s Italy along with the numerous half-misunderstood conversations that slowly strip away Mr Ripley’s disguise were equally enjoyable. But the real star was the premise itself: with enough confidence it is possible to believe someone is Simon. Or rather Dickie Greenleaf, as Ripley attempts to steal Jude Law’s identity.

Ron Trilby

5 Stars