THRILLER RIPLEY’S GAME (15) 110min O... r



Ripley’s cold blooded older times

Patricia Highsmith’s charming anti-hero Tom Ripley is back. Embodied by Matt Damon in Anthony Minghella's lavish adaptation of The Talented Mr Ripley (Ripley's fictional debut), he is now incarnated by John Malkovich in Liliana (The Night Porter) Cavani's darkly comic screen version of the third of

Highsmith’s five Ripley novels.

Damon’s Ripley was a gauche wannabe, a poor boy lusting for the high life. Malkovich‘s mature Ripley has achieved the wealth and status his younger self craved. Married to a harpsichord virtuoso and living in splendour in a Palladian villa in the Veneto region of Italy, he leads a life of upper-class elegance and sophistication. But his taste is not beyond reproach, according to British expat Jonathan Trevanny (Dougray Scott), a picture framer who lives in the neighbouring village. Ripley overhears Trevanny’s disparaging remarks, and devises a cunning and sadistic retribution.

Ripley is being pestered by a former criminal protege, cockney crook-turned-Berlin club owner Reeves (Ray Winstone). Reeves’ territory is under threat from the Russian mafia and he needs a non- professional to assassinate his main rival. Ripley proposes his neighbour, knowing that Trevanny, terminally ill with leukemia and needing to ensure the financial security of his wife and young son,

might well succumb to temptation.

As Ripley’s subtle and malicious game unfolds it produces surprising ironies (the dying man gets a new lease of life when he becomes a hit man) and moments of pitch-black humour (including a protracted multiple killing on a train). Whereas Minghella appeared slightly uneasy with Highsmith's moral ambivalence, implausibly giving his Ripley the stirrings of a guilty conscience, Cavani is right at home in the author's cruel universe.

There is, admittedly, the slight tang of the Euro-pudding about her film. But despite some uneven pacing, it is beautifully held together by Malkovich. Reining in his tendency to ham, he is every inch

the fastidious, coolly intelligent and cold-blooded Ripley. (Jason Best) I General re/ease from Fr: 30 May

DRAMA DOLLS (12A) 113min O...

Melodrama: of tragic love

The latest film from awe-msprnng Japanese comrc. actor, patnter and arrectOr Kztaho ‘Beat' Takesht sets up an oo‘o‘ put compelling c0ncept. ir‘ a play by ChtkamaISU (Japan's eounatent of Shakespeare). bahrukc dolls pertOrm a sad tale of

human trageOy. Stagtng thts perfOrmance at the begthhmg c‘ the film. Kttaho reverses the polarrttes of the theatre. makrng the dons the stOryteIIers and onlookers to three stOrtes of ther own. These are perfOrmed by llve actors. u-rrth the premtse that If the dolls were to tell thetr own tales of tragtc eve. these are the stones they HOJEO tell.

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22 '.'a,—C . .' r: 232': THE LIST 27