Friday, June 10, 2011

Stylish & Deep...Haunting

" I always thought it'd be better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody."
---The Talented Mr. Ripley

Have you seen the movie? 
Yes, the 1999 film based on the part psychological, part stylish novel by Patrica Highsmith of the same title from way back in the 50s, I think. Anyway, if you're into smart movies that will stick to your head NOT cause they're scary like, say, Insidious (which I haven't seen) but are memorable because they sting you in a psychological way, this one's a keeper. 

Naturally, this part I'd dedicate to pointing out how the plot goes and how it all ends, but I'm afraid I might spoil it for people who would want to watch it. But what's important is that I lay what I liked about the movie. Visually, it'll be one of the most pleasing 2 hours you will see on celluloid. The cast, let me highlight is Hollywood's brightest, biggest names and most talented actors out there: Matt Damon, who will show you just how hard it is to play someone kinda gay, craving for acceptance, a little neurotic, a pinch reserved and just everything else that would gel well with that kind of a profile, Jude Law who brilliantly plays a rich kid, Gwyneth Paltrow who will remind you of Grace Kelly, Cate Blanchett who pulls off a Southern accent in Italy and is equally amazing as Philip Seymour Hoffman, who's a socialite in this film. 

And do we really have to go and talk about their faces? I mean, come on. Matt, Jude, Gwyneth, Cate and even Philip who may not be the Sexiest Man Alive but holds his own in a cast like this. 

And do we really need to mention that this movie, is set in 1950s Italy? I mean, come on. Whatever time it is or whatever decade it is, Italy will be as elegant, intimate and lively anytime, anywhere. The stone houses and the small streets and the side vendors...I've only been to Italy through the movies and I could tell that breathing Italian air will allow me more things to write about, but really, Italy is as much a character here as Matt Damon's is. 

The music, which I love, will teach you American Jazz and throw in some Italian flavor there too and you'd find yourself downloading all the Baker tracks you ought to know before watching this film. You'd even want to learn how to play the drums, or strike them keys at the piano.

The fashion here is hands-down belissimo. You'll see Jude Law in rat-pack clothes, trousers almost ballooning on the sides and sporting pointy Italian shoes you'd still see being photographed in The Sart. You'll see Gwyneth Paltrow in tiny waisted skirts that go bloom down past her knee in the summer and when it drops to winter, she's chic in a leopard print jacket with those gloves. And never forget how Matt Damon marries American prep with some Italian elegance, it's just superb. Tom Ripley, which is Matt Damon's character here, strongly reminded me of Luigi Alba, who is for me, one of the most stylish people I've met. I think I've mentioned enough reasons to get you hooked, but while the immediately sensible may attract you, the story will keep you awake.

What's most gripping about this tale of identity and self-acceptance (and if you want to go moral about it, how one lie leading to another could dig you an amazing spot in hell) is how the story goes. How events unfold and how character decisions, especially Tom Ripley's, drive the story through, what metaphorically seems as those almost-suffocating brick streets in Italy...You think you've finally found the way out, when you're hitting a dead-end within 3 seconds.

There's also that feeling this film plucks from you that you only get after driving on the road for hours and hours. You'll definitely understand what I mean when you watch the film. At the end of the movie, you'll hear yourself comment "Jesus, why did it have to end this way?" And then you look back at what Tom Ripley's been through and you're like, "well, he's come a long, but this could've been a different story." Then again, if Tom Ripley was so good, this wouldn't be such an amazing film.

It escapes me, really, that I only get to watch such sophisticated films way behind everybody else. Maybe it's cause I've grown the taste for it only recently, or maybe because I've wasted time watching films I thought were sophisticated. But whatever it is, you have to watch this. You have to stick through it 'till the end and it'll make you realize just how far one could get and would go to escape himself...

Superb, exactly how I want my writing to be. Gripping, stylish, human and most all, haunting. 

- Gerard

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