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Spiderman and the Talented Mr. Ripley

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Biweekly Essay #3:

The Talented Mr. Ripley & Spiderman

The movie "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is about the life of Tom Ripley whom is played by Matt Damon. His character in this movie is a young insignificant man that only finds joy in pretending to be other people, which he does in order to escape from his thoughts of insignificance. One day Ripley (Damon) is wearing a Princeton blazer and is mistaken by Mr. and Mrs. Greenleaf for one of their son's friends. Their son is Dickie Greenleaf played by Jude Law whom is a young man that lives a very cavalier lifestyle, constantly surrounded by gorgeous women, his good friends and has not a care in the world.

Still believing that Ripley is his son's friend, Mr. Greenleaf practically begs him to go to Italy where Dickie is staying and try to get him to go back home which of course is a dream come true for Ripley, so he agrees in an instant. Yet a problem occurs during Ripley's trip to bring Dickie home which is that Ripley mistakenly kills Dickie out of anger and suddenly Ripley becomes a lying machine in order to mask what he has done.

In The beginning of the film Tom Ripley seems like an average person even though the audience quickly learns through his dialogue that he enjoys doing his impersonations. During the entire beginning of the movie including up until he goes to Italy his impersonations are quite hilarious, even though they may be ethically wrong.

Since Dickie is a man of such popular status he takes Ripley to all the "IN" parties and galas, introduces him to all the "right" people and makes him part of this super social scene. Thanks to this Ripley now is able to be amongst those whom have all the things that he did not posses such as riches, social status and most of all general confidence. Throughout this time Ripley becomes curious as to why he has formed this sort of obsession with Dickie, which not to mention is a very serious obsession. It takes over his entire life. As the audience has begun to see Ripley is not one to take charge of situations, in fact he is the one to "go along with" so to speak. This poor guy has no concept of self, for all he does is pretend to be others. It is at this point in the movie where the audience will see him change his view of himself.

It is at the pint of the movie just after Dickie's female friend is found dead that we see Ripley attempt to control Dickie and thus attempt to exploit him. ""You're the brother I never had, I'm the brother you never had." He then promises that no one will ever find out about the events that took place and that his secret would never get out. This of course is just a bold faced lie in order to further attempt to control Dickie. After a short while the audience sees that Dickie has begun to be bored with Ripley and somewhat annoyed. He feels that Ripley has to a certain extent overstayed his welcome and that the two should part ways for a while. Upon hearing this Ripley is not only depressed but full of anger in which we watch as Ripley turns from being the well behaved gentleman to what some would call homicidal maniac.

At this point Ripley reveals to Dickie the obsession that has been brewing inside him all this time. "I'm beginning to wish I was you." It makes the audience realize the extent of which he is so displeased with himself. "This undercurrent is wisely never brought up to the level of conscious action because so many of Tom Ripley's complicated needs and desires are deeply buried; he finds out what he wants to do by doing it." (http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19991224/REVIEWS/912240305/1023)

After revealing to Dickie the obsession that he had ben carrying around with him all this time, Ripley kills him in almost an instant and decides that he is now going to be Dickie Greenleaf. Once Dickie is dead and Ripley has taken his identity he realizes that the reason hat he had such an obsession in the first place was because he just wanted to e Dickie. It is like he says throughout he movie "it is better to be a fake somebody then a real nobody." The fact is that he actually makes the audience think that that is what he really believes. Thus his self concept has been completely changed, even though it is entirely false. For he has just taken his impersonations one step further in that he know truly believes that since he is Dickie Greenleaf he should view himself the way Dickie viewed himself. He finally seems satisfied.

Unfortunately that does not last too long for his new lover, Peter, tells him how he wishes that he could change everything, including himself. This of course brings back all of the messed up feelings that Ripley had before and thus is disgusted with himself now more then ever, which ironically was his motive for killing Dickie in the first place. It's funny because throughout the dialogue toward the end of the movie it seems as though that Ripley is not upset for having committed such awful acts, but that he is upset over just being alive.

In conclusion, this movie was quite confusing and it took me a few times of watching it before I could pick out what was really going on here. The self concept of Ripley is drastically changed and then transformed back to his original self concept of self loathing and disgust. It is a story that gives us in depths look at the mind of one seriously messed up individual and I believe that you might think twice before watching this one, because without one realizing

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