Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: The Talented Mr... Seale

It has admittedly been a few years since I have watched Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr Ripley. And yet I remember it so vividly in my mind. So much so that years removed I can still remember invidivual sequences and shots. I seem to remember the camera repeatedly looking up and down, as if the entire film is told from the perspective of where Matt Damon's "Mr Ripley" sees himself being and where he sees everyone else. I didn't rewatch the film to prepare for this week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot - a series at Nathaniel Rogers' The Film Experience dedicated to viewers finding their favourite shot amongst a designated title of the year - but I skimmed through and found myself immersed in a treasure trove of gorgeously lensed moments from Mr John Seale.

John Seale is an Australian four-time Oscar nominee, winning for Minghella's earlier picture, The English Patient. I was surprised to find he wasn't nominated for The Talented Mr Ripley. Apart from being a beautiful movie in general, it really is fabulously filmed and all those European locations certainly don't hurt matters. But, then again, The Talented Mr Ripley and the Oscars had a weird relationship that year that had Harvey Weinstein basically jump ship to the (curiously over-performing) The Cider House Rules, leaving Minghella and co to flounder about racking up a (still very respectable) five nominations. The five that were nominated are certainly a stellar bunch, so Seale (nor I) should really be able to complain. Still... I would have expected more than mere Chicago and Las Vegas to stump for the guy.

Okay, so this one's just because Jude Law is so freakin' good looking. I can't. I just can't.

I love the mirror between these two shots from different scenes in the movie. Ripley down front with Dickie in charge at the back, and then vice versa when the tables are turned.

Tom Ripley literally sees himself (or, projects himself as doing so) as so small that he could be crushed under foot.

I greatly enjoy the way that once Jude Law exits the picture - er, spoiler? - everyone begins having to question who they're even conversing with (they should, alas they don't). This moment of Cate Blanchett's return to the picture is divine, almost like a Hitchcock cameo in the beginning. At first the viewer may not notice her in the background, but then neither does Tom.

My favourite shot, however, is this one. Tom has finally risen not only in social standing, but within myself. And at this moment as the potential for all of his lies to become unravelled he stands up the top and, in actual fact, is guiding everything like a puppeteer. Out of sight he plays the characters of Gwyneth and Cate with the skill of a marionette master, laying the foundation for what comes next.


J.P. (from The Film Experience) said...

It's my recollection that The Talented Mr. Ripley/Oscar saga went something like this: Harvey Weinstein was in charge of The Cider House Rules's Oscar campaign, while his brother Bob was in charge of Ripley's. Bob was suddenly hospitalized for something or other during awards season, and the Ripley campaign suffered as a result.

Antonio Cuesta said...

Great analysis.

Anonymous said...

Love this movie, and your post!