The Backlog: THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY

Welcome to the Backlog! A series where I post untimely reviews of movies.

I always figured it would be better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody.

I love movies that fill me with a deep yearning for traveling. After watching The Talented Mr. Ripley, I looked at tickets to visit Italy and pondered constructing a time machine to go back to 1950s Italy. It seems like a blast. The cars are amazing, the waters are pristine. The beaches are lively yet not overcrowded. Rome is busy yet not jammed up. 

Murder also appears to be the easiest fucking thing to get away. To be clear, I would not commit murder if I went to the 1950s. I’m merely pointing out that many of these murders seemed super easy to figure out and yet Tom escapes them. 

Tu Vuo’ Fa L’Americano / The Talented Mr. Ripley

With the fun comments done, we can move onto the magic of the film. The fun lies in the film’s glamorous veneer which, like it’s protagonist, is a mask to something entirely different. Instead of a dark, rotten core there is instead a fascinating contemplation of love.

Can an imposter truly love someone that sees only their mask? Can that person love an imposter’s mask? Peter sees all these wonderful qualities in Tom because he hasn’t seen behind the curtain to the dark core of Tom Ripley. And if he does, does it negate the loving parts of Tom Ripley? 

For me, anything built on a foundation of lies is destined to rot and eventually collapse. Unless, apparently, you kill the person. And so I wished for Tom’s world to collapse. Because he violated multiple moral codes and lied to his loved ones. Yet, it doesn’t collapse. 

Part of me was glad that he got away with it. That part of me that was enchanted by the mask and by the dazzle and charm of Tom Ripley. It’s nice to love the 2-dimensional mask put up by an imposter, because it’s so easy to hope that it’s true. 

And therein lies the danger.

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