TV Review: Ripley (Series 1)

I did want to like Ripley but it was not the one for me

“What’s the real problem Tom?”

At eight lengthy episodes, Steven Zaillian’s new adaptation of Ripley proves a hefty thing on Netflix and I’m not sure that it can truly bear the weight of such an extended running time. Based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, and directed in black and white in true neo-noir style, it is full of atmosphere and not a lick of urgency and so ultimately proves most sluggish.

Andrew Scott takes on the title role and there’s no mistaking that this is a cold, calculating psychopath, truly amoral in his actions as he arrives in Italy to return Dickie Greenleaf back to New York at the behest of Greenleaf Senior but soon finds that his continental life is one that he now aspires to and will do anything to obtain.

Unfairly or not, this TV show lives under the shadow of Anthony Minghella’s sunkissed and deeply sexy 1999 film adaptation, a version which actually invented a number of its secondary characters (Cate Blanchett’s Meredith, Jack Davenport’s Peter) and you kinda see why Minghella added them in, because there’s not a whole lot otherwise in the source material to vary the tone.

Scott is undoubtedly good but the disparity in the ages between him, Johnny Flynn’s Dickie and Dakota Fanning’s Marge makes the central group an odd fit and playing him so cold makes it harder to believe he could inveigle his way into their lives. And whilst the cinematography is gorgeous,the glacial pace and extended running time mean that it ends up overused. Disappointing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *