Ripley's Game (2002)

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Released 11-Feb-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Theatrical Trailer
DVD Credits
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 105:57
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:24) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Liliana Cavani
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Ray Winstone
John Malkovich
Uwe Mansshardt
Hanns Zischler
Paolo Paoloni
Maurizio Lucą
Dougray Scott
Evelina Meghangi
Chiara Caselli
Lena Headey
Sam Blitz
Emidio La Vella
Lutz Winde
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Ennio Morricone


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Ripley's Game is the sequel to The Talented Mr. Ripley which, like this movie, is based one of the books by Patricia Highsmith. There are several books featuring Tom Ripley, so don't be too surprised if the character pops up in further movies. It's also not the first time this book has served as the basis for a film, with the previous occasion being a movie called The American Friend in which Dennis Hopper played the Ripley character.

     In this story we find Tom Ripley (John Malkovich) now middle aged and living quietly in Italy with his wife Luisa Harari (Chiara Caselli). He is an art dealer and obviously doing quite well for himself as they live in a fabulous restored Italian villa. He is still the sociopath we have come to know from the previous film, as we witness in the opening scenes the callous murder he carries out when a less-than-honest art deal doesn't come off as he expected. In the small village in Italy in which he lives he is invited by the town's picture framer Jonathan Trevanny (Dougray Scott) to a party at his house. Shortly after arriving he overhears Trevanny insult him. "Bloody philistine American. You know, he's ruined that Palladian Villa. Restored the heart and soul out of it. That's the trouble with Ripley. Too much money and no taste." says Trevanny to a group of party guests.

    When Ripley is visited by Reeves (Ray Winstone), a night club owner and an old criminal associate he is none-too-pleased. However, when Reeves asks him to kill the owners of  the rival night clubs Ripley sees a way to carry this out and to get even with Trevanny for the insult by manipulating him into committing the murders.

    John Malkovitch is brilliant as Ripley. He exudes a degree of quietly understated menace that far exceeds the more impulse characteristics of his younger self portrayed by Matt Damon in the previous film. When the older Tom Ripley says "Hold my watch, because if it breaks I'll kill everyone on this train" you just know that he means exactly that, and that after the deed he will walk away at a measured pace, a picture of calmness, already beginning to forget what he has done.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is an excellent transfer which is only let down by a few short slightly out-of-focus segments.

    The transfer on this disc is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. This ratio is almost the same as the 1.85:1 ratio used in the original theatrical release.

    This is a very sharp and finely detailed transfer. There is a hint of edge enhancement, however this is not bothersome. The shadow detail is very good. The only disappointment is that there are several occasions where the image was slightly out of focus. Since I didn't see this movie theatrically I can't say whether this was introduced in the transfer or whether it was a problem with the camera focus.

    The colour is superb in every respect. A full palette is used and the rich, vivid, full-bodied colour does full justice to the Italian countryside in which the plot mostly unfolds. A delight to the eyes.

    The transfer is mostly free of artefacts. The only ones I noted were about three small marks and occasional minor aliasing. There's some faint grain if you look very hard.

    A single subtitle stream is provided. The English For The Hearing impaired subtitles, of which I sampled about 10 minutes worth, are basically word perfect. They are displayed in easily readable white text which moves around the bottom of the screen in order to be near the character that is delivering the lines.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed between Chapters 14 and 15, at 65:24. It is well placed and barely noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is generally excellent with the only flaw being some distortion from the centre channel between 67:20 and 67:45.

    There is only one audio track on this disc with this being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    I found the dialogue to be quite clear at all times and the audio sync perfect.

    Ennio Morricone's score is well crafted and nicely matched to the plot. It does an excellent job at building the necessary tension.

    Most of the audio activity is located in the front channels and consequently the surrounds are used for the most part only subtly to provide necessary ambience and in support of the musical score. However, there are a few occasions when they are used more powerfully to good effect in support of the on-screen action.

    The subwoofer wasn't used that much, however on the two or three occasions that it made its present felt, it did so powerfully and to good effect.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The only extra is a theatrical trailer.

Menu

    The  menu is very basic - just a static image displayed in an aspect ratio of  1.78 :1. There is no background audio.

Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain

    Ho-hum. At least it's not the City trailer.

Theatrical Trailer

    This runs for 1:54 and features Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio and displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement.

DVD Credits

    If you access the Village logo at the bottom of the main menu you'll get two animated ads, one for Roadshow Entertainment and the other for Oasis DVD. These run for a total of 1 minute and are displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   We have a fairly rare situation here in that our local Region 4 disc looks like it will be, if not the first release, certainly one of the first. There is apparently an R2 Italian version available but the UK R2 is scheduled for the 16th February 2004 and will be followed shortly thereafter by the R1 on March 30th 2004. A search on the web regarding the other other versions didn't provide much information about content so it's not really possible to come to any conclusion about which version is the best at this time.

Summary

    Ripley's Game, despite being a nicely crafted movie with an excellent performance from John Malkovitch, lacks a plot of the same complexity as The Talented Mr. Ripley.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is likewise excellent.

    There's not much in the way of extras, just a theatrical trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Peter Cole (Surely you've got something better to do than read my bio)
Saturday, February 07, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-655A [SACD & DVD-A], using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-995
SpeakersFront L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300

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