A perfectly retro outfit and a sailing boat: it doesn’t take much more than that for me to sail towards the murky waters of Mr Ripley.
Tom Ripley is a poor orphaned young man. He ends up sailing the Italian seas with a spoilt American heir and his girlfriend Marge, after being commissioned by a rich American to convince his son, Dickie, to return to the U.S.
The confined setting of the boat quickly becomes oppressive and tensions escalate quickly: Marge has no affection for Ripley, who wants nothing but to take on Dickie’s personality, who quickly loses interest in his new friend.
The psychological workings are deep and intricate. Ripley can barely conceal his psychopathic nature beneath a thin veneer of culture and cutting intelligence, whilst Dickie abuses his easy-going charm and easy-flowing money.
The boat is naught but the stage of a mortal combat, and death there is indeed.
I was wondering if I should discuss Patricia Highsmith’s novels, given that the relationship between this mother and her paper child has a visceral, fascinating quality, but I thought it better to touch on the two movie adaptations of “The Talented Mr Ripley” instead, due to their different, yet equally stunning visual aesthetic.
The first adaption, Purple Noon, was shot in 1960 by René Clément and stars Alain Delon, whose game of light and darkness is in incredibly in tune with the incandescent atmosphere of sun and obscurity that bathes the characters.
Alain Delon has a devilish beauty about him. He is the perfect incarnation of the anti-hero, the caged tiger, whose hunger, psychopathy and inner turmoil ripple just beneath the surface, a glimpse of what is to come.
The second movie is The Talented Mr Ripley, shot by Anthony Minghella in 1999. The colors may be softer, the atmosphere slightly less tense and the movie as a whole may feel smoother, but no character escapes their dramatic fate. The retro vibe is a visual wonder and Matt Damon is simply excellent.
Here, I give you my rendering of The Talented Mr Ripley. Please rest assured that no photographer was killed during this photoshoot.
Anna Sui retro swimsuit – Miu Miu sunglasses – Galeries Lafayette scarf