Ripley's Game [2002]

The slippery protagonist of The Talented Mr. Ripley returns in another deadly guise in Ripley's Game, a well-appointed star vehicle. The star this time is John Malkovich, whose older Tom Ripley has settled into an Italian villa and a life of aesthetic contemplation (a little like Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal). A former partner (Ray Winstone) drags an innocent frame-maker (Dougray Scott), dying of leukemia, into the role of unexpected hit man. Ripley, for his own enigmatic reasons, helps. Liliana Cavani, of The Night Porter notoriety, directed this handsome if nebulous film (which has no connection to the Matt Damon picture, other than a Patricia Highsmith source novel). Malkovich exudes his usual oily disenchantment with the world; Lena Headey, like the location footage, is gorgeous. The same novel was adapted in very different style by Wim Wenders for his brilliant 1977 film, The American Friend, with Dennis Hopper and Bruno Ganz. --Robert Horton

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