Set in the contemporary art world in London, Tom Ripley, is at the forefront of a forgery ring that produces art attributed to a dead painter who the world believes is still alive. When an aficionado discovers some of the forgeries and threatens to expose the ring, Ripley stages a news conference disguised as the dead painter to prove that the art is real. When the man remains unconvinced, Ripley invites him to his estate where he murders him. Things get complicated for Ripley when a wily detective starts looking for the missing man.
What is it with releasing dated movies on DVDs these days? Without naming titles, and of course, any distributors’ names, we are observing a slew of titles which are appearing on shelves of retail stores which we don’t recall seeing in cinema advertisements before. In our hands now is another title which we haven’t heard of in recent years, but starring some really established actors of our time. There’s Barry Pepper (Flags of our Fathers, 25th Hour), Alan Cumming (X Men 2, Spy Kids), Jacinda Barrett (The Last Kiss, Poseidon), Claire Forlani (Hooligans, The Medallion), Tom Wilkinson (Duplicity, Valyrie) and Willem Dafoe (Inside Man, Spider-Man). Quite a lineup, don’t you think? The problem is, how could a movie like this escape our radar? It was released, gasp, four years ago in 2005.
And to make things worse, our research tells us that although production had long since wrapped, the movie sat on the shelf for over three years before it was finally released. You go do the Math.
And to be fair, the story plot is one that is rather intriguing. It sounds like one exciting thriller adapted from one of those thick crime novels you see in bookstores. Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s novel of the same name, the story tells a tale of forgery and lies. After an up and coming artist is killed in an accident, a resourceful American man (Pepper in one of his more memorable performances in his career yet) living in London covers up the crime and attempts to have people believe that he is still alive in order to exploit the dead man’s legacy. Together with his greedy partners in crime, they plan to reap millions in the process.
Yes, with a premise like that, the plot does become ridiculous as the 101 minute movie moves along. But one thing that keeps us going is, yes, you’ve guessed it – the reliable cast of the production. Pepper exudes an admirable brood, Cumming is cheekily cunning, Barrett is trashy fun, Forlani is classily cold, while heavyweights Wilkinson and Dafoe add credibility and weight to an otherwise impressive cast of actors.
So we don’t not blame the filmmakers for including cheesy dialogue which, well, work better in novels. And who wouldn’t welcome some gratifying shots of lovemaking and well toned bodies? Considering that this Roger Spottiswoode directed picture is an English production, things really can’t go that wrong with its attention to decent cinematography, editing and other production values. This is one guilty pleasure that we welcome, no matter how long ago it was released, or for that matter, made.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This Code 3 DVD contains no extra features.
The disc’s visual transfer isn’t the greatest because it is quite a dated production after all. The movie is presented in its original English language.
by John Li
Posted on 21 August 2009