PleinSoleil_3DBD

THE TALENTED MR DELON
1999’s Talented Mr Ripley, directed by the late Anthony Minghella and starring Matt Damon and Jude Law, was not the first adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s charismatic psychopath’s adventures. Plein Soleil, released in 1960, was directed by Réné Clement and also transferred the author’s novel to the big screen. Here, future heaththrob Alain Delon plays the evil, manipulative Ripley, who latches onto the wealthy Philippe Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet) and then proceeds to steal his identity. In terms of plot, it is very similar to Minghella’s 1999 version except that it has a far more Gallic feel to proceedings and the homoeroticism of the later adaptation is lacking. Delon is excellent as the increasing desperate chancer Ripley and there is some clever casting here with Ronet and Delon looking quite similar, making it more credible that he could take his life over than when we saw Damon and Law in the late nineties version. Marie Laforêt as Greenleaf’s girlfriend Marge is suitably gorgeous although she has less of a part to play than Gwyneth Paltrow in the 1999 adaptation. The Blu-ray is a 4K restoration so it looks beautiful with every detail jumping off the screen. Plein Soleil is a classic and it does deserve a Blu-ray issue and even if you have seen the Mingella film, there is plenty to appreciate here…

elysium_ver2_xlg

SCIENCE FRICTION
Four years ago, Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 showed that you could make an intelligent modern sci fi film outside of America. Fast forward four years and we have Elyisum, Blomkamp’s second effort. Matt Damon plays Max, an orphan who lives on a future Earth which is overcrowded and polluted. The macguffin here is that all of the planet’s wealthiest citizens scarpered when the Earth got too dirty and now live in palatial luxury on an orbiting round space station which is filled with houses that look like they’ve been lifted straight from Beverly Hills. Max ekes out a living but he finds himself taking on a mission for dodgy facilitator Spider (Wagner Moura) which would take him up to Elysium and could change the balance of power forever. Of course, nothing is ever simple and deputy president of Elysium Delacourt (Jodie Foster) retains mercenary Kruger (Sharlo Copley) to hinder Max’s mission and gain control of Elysium for herself. After the bloated infantilised drivel we have been made to suffer this summer, Elysium comes as a little bit of a breath of fresh air. Damon has carved out a niche for himself as one of the most likeable contemporary modern leading men and he brings a lot to the film and Copley as the psychotic Kruger is good value. Visually, it is also spectacular: Blomkamp and kiwi production designer Philip Ivey (Lord of The Rings) do a fantastic job of bringing this world to life. We are also spared the tedium of 3D here. It’s not all perfect: Jodie Foster as the manipulative Delacourt is pretty weak and there are moments when the script does feel overly familiar. But Elysium feels like an adaptation of a 2000AD strip, mostly offering a slice of hard science fiction that carries the viewer along. It has a suitably downbeat ending as well, while offering a kernel of hope. It does feel more like a mainstream Hollywood film than District 9 but it still offers enough to stay with you after the credits have rolled that there is still the sense that Blomkamp comes to things from a different perspective to your Emmerichs and Bays. It will be interesting to see where the director goes next but Elysium is worth checking out…