Starring Dennis Hopper, Bruno Ganz, Lisa Kreuzer, Gérard Blain, Nicholas Ray, Samuel Fuller
Enigmatic. Elusive. Haunting.
This bilingual, international classic will probably benefit from a second viewing. I admit, if I wasn’t familiar with its source material (Ripley’s Game by Patricia Highsmith), I’m not sure I would have understood what was going on. There are some major deviations from Highsmith’s novel, but essentially her most famous character, Tom Ripley, gets involved in seducing a decent German man, Zimmerman (Ganz), over to the dark side. Told he has just a short time left to live, Zimmerman agrees to kill a man for a large amount of money that he will give to his family. Dennis Hopper makes a strange but engaging Ripley. He projects almost nothing, while easily capturing the characters contrasting sides (Ripley the criminal manipulator and Ripley the American friend). Ganz is immensely watchable, in a way few people are. He doesn’t have to do anything to hold your attention. The photography, hallmark of Wenders’ work, is superb. The plot and themes take backseats to the mood and feel of the film.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-