The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Let me start saying what a gorgeous movie The Talented Mr. Ripley is. It's impeccable. Such affirmation may seem exaggerated, but it's a risk I'm going to allow. Visually, it's a experience that drives you through Tom Ripley's lies, and it never loses the rhythm. The tension lives in the shots, in every one of them! The audience will feel intelligent and active watching this, exploring the consequences of the false identity. Special attention to the eyes of the actors, who are all brilliant. I had to choose one single look and it was Dickie Greenleaf's to his lover after she kills herself in the sea. It reveals a deep fear of the character, his eyes illuminate the shot, making it transcend immediately. And we're touched by it. Knocked out, specifically.
Director Anthony Minghella and cinematographer John Seale capture the intention of Patricia Highsmith's novel. It feels like a game where the identities get to know each other and then they collapse in the fatal and inevitable ending. It's a gift to see such elaborated composition inside the shot, using not only the actors and their position, but also the objects around them, creating incredible metaphors such as the image chosen for Silver Medal. Such complexity is just enigmatic and dark. And that's a cause of celebration for movie enthusiasts. Ripley's obsession with Dickie has amazing shots, all of them swimming in the sea of suspense, and perhaps we see some Hitchcock influence. Well, it definitely fits the storytelling.
Instead of going with one of the multiple epic shots that this movie has, I decided to choose this as the best for a simple reason. Being The Talented Mr. Ripley a movie about sexual tension, homoerotic relationships and the need of hiding yourself, this shot is a proof that, in the end, it's just a trivialization of North America's attitude in the 1950s on a foreign country like Italy. The past always returns, as so does with Tom, Dickie, Marge and Meredith. Every major character in the movie has to live with a mistake. They're caught in their web of fear, in their own perversity. They're not free. That's the opposite to the two Italian men in the shot who, even if we're not sure they're gay (One of them has previously flirted with a walking lady) they don't care about anything else. They're busy knotting a tie. We guess this would be Ripley's dream.