Neil Young’s Film Lounge – Plein Soleil
aka Purple Noon : France 1960 : Rene CLEMENT : 118 mins
The Talented Mr Ripley‘s Matt Damon was by no means the first to bring Patricia Highsmith’s murderously amoral antihero to the big screen – the author disapproved of scruffy Dennis Hopper in Wim Wenders’ 1976 The American Friend because she didn’t think he was sufficiently good-looking. No such objections were possible to the previous Ripley, the famously beau Alain Delon. And he’s probably the best thing about this hyper-glossy first adaptation of ‘Talented’, in which Ripley assumes the identity of the megarich pal he bumps off during a Med boat-trip then lives the dolce vita in the ritizer corners of Italy, eluding the authorities at every step. The ending will shock those familiar with the book or the Damon version, but this is otherwise a very safe-hands, conventional thriller: just the kind of gorgeous-looking but airlessly lavish production, in fact, which inspired Godard, Truffaut and co to come up with the radical nouvelle vague.
5th September, 2004
(seen 12th June 1996 : Broadway, Nottingham : public show)
this review written for City Life magazine
published 14th September 2004; submitted to Jigsaw Lounge website 10th November
by Neil Young