Ripley Review: Andrew Scott Finds The Role Of His Career In This Netflix Miniseries
Ripley Review: Andrew Scott Finds The Role Of His Career In This Netflix Miniseries (Photo Credit – IMDb)

Ripley Review: Star Rating:

Cast: Andrew Scott, Johnny Flynn, Dakota Fanning, Maurizio Lombardi

Creator: Steve Zaillian

Director: Steve Zaillian

Streaming On: Netflix

Language: English (with subtitles)

Runtime: 8 episodes, around 50 minutes each.

Ripley Review: Andrew Scott Finds The Role Of His Career In This Netflix Miniseries
Ripley Review: Andrew Scott Finds The Role Of His Career In This Netflix Miniseries (Photo Credit – IMDb)

Ripley Review: What’s It About:

Ripley is the new adaptation of the famous novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, written by Patricia Highsmith and published in 1955. The book has received several adaptations throughout the decades and is still one of the best crime mysteries in history, so creators seem to return to it, consistently delivering powerful storytelling and unique characters to study. In the story, we follow Tom Ripley, a conman from New York, who sees the opportunity to travel to Europe on a strange job, and, of course, everything will go differently than planned.

Ripley Review: Script Analysis:

At this point in history, The Talented Mr. Ripley’s film adaptation from 1999, directed by Anthony Minghella and starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow, has become a cultural milestone in film history, and so, the story is well-known for most cinephiles out there. However, this new adaptation, created, written, and directed by Steve Zaillian, goes the extra mile in creating an eight-hour movie, giving the story enough time to develop the characters in ways they have never been produced before.

The script is genuinely magical and takes all elements from the original source material but expands them by adding new scenes and creating a sense of atmosphere and rhythm that was impossible to create within such a short book or even inside a two-hour film. Zaillian is well-known for being an excellent screenwriter, and here, he just excels at creating powerful scenes where conversations work on multiple levels and where each look hides an intention that is only hinted at. Zaillian trusts the audience to find meaning in everything they see on screen, not just what the characters say.

Steve Zaillian also chooses to transform the structure of the original novel. He gives us a new perspective on the story, which is necessary because most people will know exactly what happens, maybe because they saw a previous adaptation or just because someone told them the story. By changing the structure, Zaillian focuses more on the character of Ripley, who he is, why he chooses to do what he does, and how he is windy with his acts. The result is a story that flows amazingly well throughout all eight episodes without giving the audience a moment to relax.

The tension and stakes are high, and the balance between a character study and a crime mystery is perfectly executed. The second half of the show feels like a completely different beast, yet the storytelling quality doesn’t diminish in any way. The pacing is extraordinary, and it highlights the fact that so many other shows struggle to do what Ripley does here, making all eight hours feel important and substantial.

Ripley Review: Andrew Scott Finds The Role Of His Career In This Netflix Miniseries
Ripley Review: Andrew Scott Finds The Role Of His Career In This Netflix Miniseries(Photo Credit – IMDb)

Ripley Review: Star Performance:

Andrew Scott has been around for a while, and thanks to his incredible talent as an actor, he always seems to become a highlight of whatever he is in. Scott became a fan favorite with his participation in the Sherlock TV series, and then he became iconic as the sexy priest in Fleabag. Scott even stole the show with his short appearance in 1917, but it is here in Ripley that the actor might have found the role of his career, not only because he is the protagonist of the story but because the role is such a challenge, and he does it so well, that no one would dare to put Scott’s acting abilities in doubt ever after seeing this.

While Scott is the story’s main focus, the rest of the cast does an equally good job. Their roles might not be as challenging on the surface, but they are because each of these characters needs to hide something from everyone else, and doing something like that to achieve that level of control and still make it look believable is quite a challenge. Flynn and Fanning are impressive in their roles, and Lombardi becomes a revelation, as the actor is less well-known outside Italy and becomes a highlight in the second half of the season.

Ripley Review: Direction & Music:

If more than having fantastic writing, pacing, and performances were needed, Steve Zaillian and his team went the extra mile regarding the series’ presentation. The entire season feels cinematic in ways many shows, even those with huge budgets, fail to do. Zaillian directs all eight episodes, and the writer/director is at the peak of his game, managing to stage quite several impressive shots that tell the story just as much as the dialogue, which is why it is a must to call attention to the work of legendary cinematographer Robert Elswit, whose track record is just as impressive as Zaillian and who also shoots each of the eight episodes through his lenses.

The black-and-white cinematography looks gorgeous and helps us step back in time with the story of the early 1960s and see it from that point of view. The fact that almost every shot throughout all eight episodes is perfect should get this team some awards in the coming awards season. Jeff Russo also kills it in the music department, providing the series with all sorts of tunes that make you feel like you are on vacation with the characters.

Ripley Review: Last Words:

It is still early, but Ripley is probably one of the best shows of the year, both from a creative and technical point of view; everyone working on the series is working at the top of their game, and the final result is one of those shows that you just have to keep watching until the very end, proving that Patricia Highsmith indeed created one of the best stories ever, and a character worth following and here, and hopefully in future adaptations of the book where he appears.

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