Ripley review: Andrew Scott shines in engaging psychological thriller 

In Ripley, a scammer struggling to make ends meet accepts a job that leads him down a dark path. The series is now streaming on Netflix.


In 1961, in New York, a man in strained circumstances, Thomas “Tom” Ripley, resorts to petty crimes like scamming people. 

One day, Tom is approached by Herbert Greenleaf, the owner of a shipbuilding company, who mistakes Tom for his son Richard’s friend. 

Richard, also known as Dickie, resides in Italy and refuses to return home. Herbert wants Tom to convince Richard to come back, offering to pay him in return. 

Tom lets Herbert believe that he is Richard’s friend and accepts the offer. He then travels to Italy, where he meets Richard and his girlfriend, Marge. 

Richard leads an enviable life, and over time, Tom becomes obsessed with Richard. To live a life that was never his, Tom lies, cheats, and kills, but how long can he keep it up?


Andrew Scott as Tom Ripley does not disappoint. The actor portrays him as a man who is hiding something dark that one just cannot point out under the mask of a harmless person. 

His portrayal is layered, with moments of queer longing and a desire for a better life. His character’s inner turmoil is evident even when he is seemingly unbothered. 

He truly steals the show when, as Tom, he seamlessly adopts Richard’s mannerisms and steps into his shoes. 

Maurizio Lombardi’s no-nonsense Italian Inspector Ravini is as enjoyable to watch as he is sharp without trying too hard. 

Ravini, with his deadpan manner and choice to be overly professional, certainly makes the character memorable. 

Johnny Flynn and Dakota Fanning also perform their parts well. Fortunately, Fanning’s Marge is not reduced to a simple-minded, jealous woman.


The show first depicts the life that Tom leads in New York, which is then juxtaposed with Richard’s life in Italy.

The difference is glaringly evident: one has to scam to earn a little, while the other has so much that he does not even care about getting scammed. 

It is not just Tom’s envy of Richard’s life that is the cause of his obsession with Richard; there’s a deeper, more complex reason, hinted at throughout the show.

There are underlying themes of queer desire as well as class discrimination, which become reasons for Marge’s dislike of Tom. 

Tom clearly does not fit in with Richard and his friends, and that is highlighted by the meticulous direction in scenes like the planning of the Sanremo trip. 

The choice of presenting the show in monochrome was a good one. It prevents the audience from appreciating the scenic beauty of Italy, just like Tom, whose lies and crimes do not let him enjoy it. 

The ocean in Sanremo is ominous and imposing, setting the stage for a crime that will haunt Tom for the rest of the show. 

Italy then is a gloomy place where the audience would not want to be, as it serves as the backdrop for Tom’s actions. The attention to detail when Tom takes a life draws the audience into the narrative. 

Tom cleaning the blood instead of getting rid of the body first reveals his fixation on material things that drive him to commit the act in the first place. 

Finally, the letters Tom writes as Richard offer insight into how Tom wants to be seen, and that helps the audience understand the character better.


Although it eventually gets the audience invested, in the first two episodes, before the plot picks up the pace, Ripley has its fair share of dull moments. 

Initially, it is only Scott’s performance that keeps the audience engaged; the slow start might discourage them from continuing with the show. 

The show fails to depict Tom’s haunting fears effectively. The nightmares and the presence of policemen at every station do not truly convey the sense that his crimes are haunting him.


Ripley is a drama with an engaging plot, made better by the strong direction and performances by the cast. Those who enjoy psychological thrillers should definitely give it a chance.

Ripley review: Andrew Scott shines in engaging psychological thriller  1

Director: Steven Zaillian

Date Created: 2024-04-04 12:31

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: Ripley summary and ending explained

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