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A Film Diary

Watched: 26 September

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mr Ripley, René Clément’s film features Alain Delon as the young American Tom Ripley, a man living beyond his means and enjoying a life of luxury in Europe at the expense of his friend Philippe Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet). I won’t go into the ins-and-outs of the plot, though I dare say most of the people reading this will at least have seen Anthony Minghella’s late-90s version starring Matt Damon et al, but I will say that it’s a shame that Clément altered (ie softened) Highsmith’s ending, something the author herself didn’t appreciate. Delon is superb in the role, and it’s a fine watch for a rainy day, all shimmering, sunlit sea, glamorous cafes and louche Med haircuts and clothing. I’m not a fan of the title, though; if they had to translate Plein Soleil into English, then ‘Sunlight’ would have been absolutely fine, or Highsmith’s intriguing original moniker would have sufficed. (****)

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