'Ripley's Game' Review: The best of all Tom Ripley films

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan 

John Malkovich (right) in a still from Ripley's Game

"I'm a creation. A gifted improviser. I lack your conscience and when I was young that troubled me. It no longer does. I don't worry about being caught because I don't believe anyone is watching. The world is not a poorer place because those people are dead. It's one less car on the road. It's a little less noise and menace."

These words are spoken by John Malkovich (essaying the part of Tom Ripley in Ripley's Game). And the impact is just beyond words. The character of Tom Ripley has always been an an enigma in both literature and cinema. Ripley is an all-around criminal; he is a con artist, forger, moocher, mimic, and a serial killer. He is really someone Charles Sobhraj would have taken inspiration from.

John Malkovich and Dougray Scott in a still from Ripley's Game

The character of Ripley has inspired five notable films viz. Purple Noon (1960), The American Friend (1977), The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Ripley's Game (2002), and Ripley Under Ground (2004). Of the five movies, Liliana Cavani's Ripley's Game starring John Malkovich in the eponymous role is certainly the best in my personal opinion.
In fact, I really feel privileged to have watched an actor par excellence like John Malkovich play Ripley (Malkovich is just as enigmatic and unpredictable as Ripley) like he was always supposed to be played on the celluloid: as a cold blooded killer but who is not completely devoid of human feelings, one who is capable of being surprised by his own last remaining vestiges of virtue.

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