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  • Hamish Hart

Ripley (2024) Series Review

RATING: 8/10

OBSESSION, imitation, identity; these are the themes to which Patricia Highsmith's genre-defining novel The Talented Mr Ripley masterfully succeeds in translating. Much the same can be said for the latest adaptation of Tom Ripley, imitating the previous five reworks in a way that never feels too obsessive, allowing director Steven Zaillian to give the mini-series an identity that is all its own.

Grifter Tom Ripley (Andrew Scott) is hired by a wealthy businessman to travel to Italy to bring home his spoiled, playboy son Dickie Greenleaf (Johnny Flynn). But when local denizens begin to suspect something devious behind Ripley's disguise, including Dickie's partner Marge (Dakota Fanning), Tom is forced to concoct a more sinister plan in order to complete his assignment.

It's never easy to create a remake that ends up topping the original, especially when the story in question is an adapted screenplay of one of the greatest crime thrillers ever conceived. And while this Netflix adaption does its very best to translate the story in a meaningful manner, it just can't compare to perfection. But that isn't always a bad thing as while this is the sixth appearance of Tom Ripley on film, it is only the third time this particular plot has been told, with the other two being 1960's Plein Soleil and 1999's The Talented Mr Ripley. Both these versions felt distinct in their own right, utilising the filmmaking techniques and actors available at the time to create two movies that have withstood the test of time. The legacy of 2024's Ripley will be determined over the course of history, but for the time being, the visual execution of Ripley's world is alluring and entrancing, giving viewers a reason to care not only about this sociopathic assignment, but his very being as well; a triumphal feat helped achieved by the glorious performance given by Andrew Scott.

Tom Ripley (at least his textualized character) is depicted as a suave yet sociopathic assailant capable of the most impossible social feats, including being able to convince a man he has never interacted with before that they've been friends since childhood. While dissimilarities between this and the Netflix version will no doubt upset long-time fans of the original novel, Andrew Scott still manages to deliver a compelling performance with the material he is afforded. His long-lasting gaze shoots daggers into the very being of his fellow cast members, sending chills down the spines of viewers as he meticulously plots the next phase of his plan.

Dakota Fanning and Johnny Flynn also deliver wonderful performances as Marge and Dickie respectively, playing the role of two young millionaires in love beautifully. Fanning and Flynn walk the line between indulgences and intelligence perfectly, never coming off as too brash or too clueless when in the presence of their unknown enemy Mr Ripley. The trio's chemistry is also a highlight of the series, with the three playing off one another in such a subtle manner that you almost forget that a third of them have just met for the first time.

As somebody who holds a love for the 1999 adaptation, Netflix's Ripley will never be my favourite. However, it has come remarkably close. Ripley proves not every show needs to be extravagant to be successful and that they can achieve greatness through shrewd storytelling and well-plotted characters. While much of the series' success can be linked back to the 1955 novel, Steven Zaillian has managed to make this iconic tale his own by way of expert cinematography, timely set design and pacing that never makes the series feel like a chore to endure; needless the say that this series lives up to the original's name of being talented.


About Me

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Born in Longreach in Central West Queensland, I have undertaken a number of prominent roles across the region such as Journalist and Digital Media for The Longreach Leader, as well as appearing on critically-acclaimed radio stations ABC Western Queensland and 4LG and West FM to discuss all things film.

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