Ripley review: Adam Scott shines as a clever and creepy Ripley in this visually stunning limited series set in Italy

Aishwarya Srinivasan
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Ripley review

Ripley is the 60s version of How to Get Away with Murder and makes you root for the anti-hero!

Ripley review: When it was announced that Anthony Minghella's 1999 film 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' starring Matt Damon will now be turned into an eight part series, there was curiosity amongst fans about how this might turn out. But we can all be rest assured as Andrew Scott charmingly cons people for a living as the titular Tom Ripley in this new adaptation. The story begins when one day he is approached by Mr. Greenleaf, who asks him to befriend his son Richard Greenleaf (Johnny Flynn) who is galavanting and spending all the money from his trust fund in Italy. Mr. Greenleaf wants Tom to convince his son to come back, so he pays for his tickets, his stay and gives him an allowance for his expenses there as well. But a con man is on no one’s side; once he reached Italy he double crosses Mr. Greenleaf and tells his son the truth about his identity and earns his trust instead so that he can cling on to his wealth too. But that’s not where Ripley’s plans end. He eventually gets so envious of Richard’s wealth that he kills him when it was just the two of them on a boat. Here’s where the plot thickens and the classic saying ‘you have to tell 100 lies to hide that one lie’ really comes true.

Before I get into dissecting the story, I would have to give a special shout out to the impeccable cinematography of the series. The entire show is shot in black and white to make you feel like you’re actually watching a show from the 60s. The impressive part is that even in black and white, Italy looks just as stunning and so do all the houses that he lives in. The set adds to the grandeur and that royal feel the story needs. Every frame from the first frame to the last is aesthetically pleasing and portrays the beauty of Italy that you only get to hear about. 

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Ripley as a character is conflicting though. You can see evil creep into him slowly and steadily through the course of 8 episodes but the story being from his point of view just makes you root for him. People talk about second hand embarrassment but this show makes you realize second hand guilt is also a real thing. Everytime he lies his way through covering his tracks, everytime Richard’s bruised face is shown drowning under the ocean, you feel guilty to have watched it all unfold and root for the villain. 

Watching this show in 2024 and seeing how he gets away with everything in an era where CCTV cameras, smartphones and social media was not a thing, feels so difficult to wrap my head around. Witnesses, old school telephones, letters, and meeting in person were the only things an investigator (Maurizio Lombardi) could rely on to solve a case. The time that it is set in is what makes this bizarre story believable. But there were certain times where it felt like everything was handed to him on a platter. For instance, the scene where he was getting rid of Freddie’s dead body in his own building and no one seems to care why there is so much noise at 1am or in the last episode, when he grows a beard and his hair so that the police do not recognize him. Not having technology is one thing but none of them having a good memory is a whole other. 

But the performances in this limited series are worth binging the show in one go. Andrew Scott who we last saw in the fan favorite ‘Fleabag’ plays a polar opposite role in this one. He aces at gradually losing sense of pretense and reality. The lines are blurred between when he is himself and when he is Richard. He is evil in every manner and he has no remorse about it. Dakota Fanning plays Marge who hates Ripley since day one and she is his biggest annoyance right until the end. Maurizio Lombardi is the intimidating investigator who is out on a hunt to solve the puzzle but little does he know he has been chasing the wrong guy the whole time.

Ripley is that edge of the seat thriller we all love. You never want him to get caught and you are in awe of his con-man skills. The story truly is about the art of lying and having your way with words. How he fools half a dozen rich folks, and gets the life he has always fantasized about is an intriguing tale of rags to riches in the most unethical way. And if anyone here wants to take notes about how to show grey characters without glorifying them then Ripley should be their bible.

Ripley is currently streaming on Netflix!

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dakota johnson andrew scott ripley Maurizio Lombardi richard greenleaf