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Talented Mr Ripley – a good travel movie?

The following is a guest post by Laurence Brown. Though I haven’t seen the movie, I did read the book a few months ago. I agree with the author that the book/movie definitely could be considered travel-themed because of the very lush descriptions of Italy. And though I haven’t yet been to Italy, it’s very high on my list!

I was recently looking at the list that have compiled as to what they consider to be the “most inspirational” travel films, and one in particular caught my eye – The Talented Mr Ripley.


HolidayExtras customer awards


Now, I’m no film expert – I usually see what are probably classed as mediocre films (romcoms and goofy comedies) just because they provide easy escapism and relaxation, but I like to think that I know a good movie when I see one, and I reckon that The Talented Mr Ripley comes under this category.

It’s been a while since I saw the film, but, for a number of reasons, it’s stuck with me quite vividly. Most hauntingly because of the scene on the rowboat where Matt Damon’s Ripley psychologically goes over the edge, and Jude Law’s Dickie literally does. But luckily, the film remains vivid for me for a slightly more pleasant reason – the luxurious and languid setting of the film, which is in 1950s Italy. I’ve never been to Italy, but watching Ripley is certainly an advertisement for a holiday there, as long as you avoid any horn-rimmed spectacle-wearing American men, that is… but still, the foreign setting provides a beautiful backdrop to contrast with the mounting, threatening tension of the plot, and no one can deny it does look exquisite.

So I see what are getting at when they talk about Ripley as a travel film. As soon as Ripley arrives in Italy he is seduced by the rich, Italian lifestyle, and so are we as an audience. The sun-drenched and umbrella-filled beaches, the sailboats amid the twinkling sea, the rocky outlets and the old, stone courtyards with climbing plants and Vespas zipping through them, are enough to inspire anyone to travel to Italy. However, I do think it may be slightly misleading to call The Talented Mr Ripley a travel film, as most who’ve seen it will know that the main focus isn’t really on travel – you don’t think Talented Mr Ripley and then think ‘travel’, in my case I think ‘death by oar’…

So although I don’t think Ripley is necessarily a top travel film, looking at the list on the Holiday Extras Customers’ Awards page reminded me of what a great film it is in the general sense. I suppose the attractive setting does inspire travel, though saying that, it hasn’t inspired me enough to actually travel to Italy yet…

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