'The Talented Mr. Ripley'
Almost its own 138-minute Perillo tour of Italy, this 1999 film presents a tale of desire and false identity. Moving restlessly from symbolic place to place, it evokes the elegant curling seafront of the Italian Riviera in San Remo, steeps the characters in the grandiose, crowded bustle of Rome near the Piazza della Repubblica, and takes the solid ground from beneath their feet in the foreboding churches and formal plazas of Venice. But director Anthony Minghella truly excels in capturing the essence of heat-drenched summer on the Bay of Naples.
In the first extended scenes of the movie on the fictional island of “Mongibello” (filmed on Ischia and Procida), heat almost rises in wavering lines off golden bodies stretched out on the beach. The ocean gleams back with blinding glare as the intense sun hammers down on the shallow chop. The ocean’s salt spray and the clanging sun have weathered the village buildings to chalky pastels, yet even they seem suspended in an amber glow of summer heat. Minghella punctures the measured pace of indolence with the sudden buzzing rasp and putter of motor scooters screaming down the mountain and bursting from narrow alleys with reckless abandon. --Patricia Harris