Dark and Sinister: Steven Zaillian’s ‘Ripley’ Series Takes a Disturbing Turn

Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 crime novel, “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” holds a revered place in the world of thrillers. It has been adapted into various films, including Anthony Minghella’s 1999 rendition starring Matt Damon and Jude Law.

The newest adaptation, “Ripley,” helmed by Steven Zaillian and now on Netflix, brings a fresh spin to the psychological thriller genre. The story takes on a darker and more ominous tone, making it a chilling and somewhat burdensome viewing experience.

Set against the backdrop of 1961 Rome, “Ripley” opens with a stark black-and-white visual presentation, capturing a man dragging a lifeless body down a grand staircase. The narrative then unveils six months prior in New York’s gritty Lower East Side, introducing the main character, Ripley, a small-time con artist played by Andrew Scott.

Ripley seizes an opportunity for an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy when he is mistaken for a friend of Dickie Greenleaf, played by Johnny Flynn, and is tasked with coaxing him back to his family in the U.S. This sets off a series of deceitful acts and heinous crimes that reshape Ripley’s life.

The show is visually striking, with sumptuous shots of Italy’s landscapes, monuments, and architectural marvels. However, the extended episodes are plagued by moments of dead air and overprolonged sequences of Ripley engaging in meticulous, sometimes gruesome, activities.

Despite the visual allure, “Ripley” falters in character depth and narrative engagement. Andrew Scott’s portrayal of the sociopathic Ripley lacks the seductive charm seen in previous adaptations, leaving the character chillingly devoid of humanity.

Credit Gist New Today News in Newspaper Nigeria Headlines

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