Re: RARA-AVIS: Ripley, the film

Kate Derie (
Tue, 28 Dec 1999 13:37:40 -0800

Had myself a hard-boiled little Christmas -- or rather, a little hardboiled at Christmas, but that's not as hummable. Got Miami Purity and Connelly's Blood Work. Finished Miami Purity last night and I'll never be able to look at a dry cleaners the same way again -- I may have to convert to wash-and-wear. A wonderful character sketch of a certain type of dependent and co-dependent woman -- I'm sure you could fit her into several of the pigeonholes in DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed. -- the shrink's bible*). It was a little slow at first -- in fact, I flipped to the end and read the final scene, which was good enough that I went back and read the whole thing. The secondary characters, however, were not as well-delineated -- it would have been quite a challenge to portray them through a first-person, unreliable narrator, and Hendricks wasn't quite up to it. But a fine book for a first-time author, all the same.

Saw Ripley yesterday. Although leisurely, it never dragged for me. Terrific evocation of period and place. However, there were things that bothered me -- a minor one was that in some scenes, there was no glass in Ripley's eyeglasses, but in other scenes, there was. Very distracting, when it would have been much better to be consistent. And furthermore, they were a Clark Kentish sort of prop, since he didn't seem to need them in the scenes where he didn't wear them.

More major was that the depiction of Tom Ripley -- who *definitely* could be looked up in the DSM-IV -- made him seem to be more of a poor, troubled youth who was (initially at least) a victim of circumstance. Minghella was much too soft on him IMHO. Finally, I personally would have preferred a more ambiguous ending -- just cut off the final scene and leave us wondering -- will he or won't he? Thumbs up, nevertheless.

*Publisher's synopsis: "The DSM IV provides the only comprehensive classification of all recognized psychiatric disorders in print. This edition features increased emphasis on multicultural influences, development across the lifespan, and substance abuse disorders. More than 1,000 clinicians and researchers have contributed to the revision of this classic reference. " Maybe we should put it on the readings. I would add a smiley to that, but I fear eggs might be thrown (at the emoticon ratherthan the weak attempt at humor).

Regards, Kate Derie Creator of the ClueLass HomePage, Editor of the Deadly Directory,

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