Friday, 18 March 2016

What a film has to do to render a person's interiority. The actor's face has to answer for most of it. I have been re-reading The Talented Mr Ripley after re-viewing the film. Books are better at rendering psychosis. The absolute flatness and purity of it, the certainty. In a film two men have to fight as they play and play as they fight. Later there has to be an argument for one to be inflamed enough to kill the other. In a book it comes out of nowhere, no argument, no reason, no premeditation. From then on you know you have entered an abyss. In the film you have rumbles and nudges. Matt Damon stares at Jude Law in the train, learning how to be him. The second half of the film, and the book, is Tom Ripley as Dickie Greenleaf, keeping Tom Ripley in reserve till he's allowed out again.
Yet he felt absolutely confident he would not make a mistake. It gave his existence a peculiar, delicious atmosphere of purity, like that, Tom thought, which a fine actor probably feels when he plays an important role on a stage with the conviction that the role he is playing could not be better played by anyone else. He was himself and yet not himself. He felt blameless and free, despite the fact that he consciously controlled every move he made.

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