The Talented Mr. Ripley is a near perfect film. (It’s also a movie the youths [re]discover every six months or so and realize Gwyneth Paltrow used to be a great actor.) There’s no real need to remake it, except that it has been remade, so we can only hope this new version justifies its existence. 


The new adaptation is titled simply Ripley, and stars Andrew Scott as the chameleonic Tom Ripley, with Johnny Flynn as Dickie Greenleaf, Dakota Fanning as Marge Sherwood, and Eliot Sumner as Freddie Miles. Ripley is an eight-part limited series from Steven Zaillian, the award-winning screenwriter behind Schindler’s List and also a co-creator and episode director of The Night Of.


The pedigree is certainly there, though you will NEVER get better Dickie/Marge casting than peak 90s Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow. Johnny Flynn and Dakota Fanning are both talented but let’s be honest, neither they nor anyone else will match the sheer GLAMOUR of Law and Paltrow at their peak. Casting Andrew Scott, however, is definitely a step up from Matt Damon. Anthony Minghella’s film teased out the homoerotic subtext of Patricia Highsmith’s novel, but in true 90s fashion, it never occurred to anyone to cast a queer actor to play Tom Ripley. Scott’s hilariously Machiavellian take on a queer-coded Moriarty in Sherlock put him on the international acting map, but here he can play a subtler version of that kind of shifty, untrustworthy plotter, hopefully without the latent homophobia that came to plague Sherlock


I’m very torn on Ripley, because there are things I don’t think anyone can do better than the film already did, but Zaillian choosing to shoot in black and white is a good decision right off the bat. Anthony Minghella made excellent use of the buttery light of the Amalfi Coast, by shooting in black and white, Zaillian gives Ripley a noir feel that fits the 1950s era, and rather than emphasizing the beauty of Dickie’s world, emphasizes the grime of Tom’s. Already, Ripley is less “quiet luxury” and more Hitchcockian. I guess I can support this series based on those two elements—a good casting decision, matched by a good style decision. And I am definitely here for Andrew Scott being relentlessly great in everything, all the time. Give the man any and every role, he will not let up, and if nothing else, Ripley should be an exercise in great acting from Andrew Scott.