This fictional character by Patricia Highsmith is considered by many to be the most charming disgust in crime history: we are talking about the fraudster, sociopath and murderer Tom Ripley. The 1955 novel “The Talented Mr. Ripley” has been filmed several times: in 1960 with the Frenchman Alain Delon (German title: “Only the Sun Was Witness”) and in 1999 with Hollywood star Matt Damon in the title role. Now an Irish actor is following in their footsteps. Netflix is ​​releasing the eight-part series “Ripley” starring Andrew Scott.

Instead of a 112 or 139 minute long feature film like in the 60s or 90s, the ambivalent material became a mini-series lasting a total of 434 minutes (over seven hours).

Scott can convince

The 47-year-old Scott is the not-so-secret insider tip of the English-speaking film business. He was Benedict Cumberbatch’s opponent James Moriarty in the BBC series “Sherlock”, the sexy priest in the dramedy “Fleabag” by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and the lonely urban gay in the melancholic ghost melodrama “All of Us Strangers” by Andrew Haigh.

For the latter, Scott would have earned all the acting awards in the world. In any case, he is one of the Irish people that everyone in the moving image business seems to be talking about right now – alongside Cillian Murphy, Paul Mescal and Barry Keoghan.

Scott’s meaningful face fits the role of the virtuoso criminal who maneuvers his way through a web of lies and travels through Italy – places like Naples, Atrani, Rome, Sanremo, Palermo and Venice are featured. The Netflix series is in black and white. Brilliant images (camera: Robert Elswit) lead through the story. Almost any setting would make a postcard or art print. The story takes place in the early 1960s and only works with the technology standards of the time: without a cell phone, with letters and checks.

The magazine “Vanity Fair” quoted author and director Steven Zaillian (71), who won an Oscar 30 years ago as the screenwriter of “Schindler’s List” and is a Hollywood veteran (“Age of Awakening”, “Deception”, “The Irishman”. “), saying: “The copy of the Ripley book I had on my desk had a striking black and white photo on the cover. When I wrote my adaptation, I had this image in my head. Black and white It just fits this story.”

That’s what it’s about

The story: A rich New York industrialist hires the petty criminal con artist Tom Ripley to dissuade his bon vivant son Richard (called Dickie) Greenleaf from la dolce vita in Italy and bring him back to America from Europe. Ripley cleverly forces his way into Dickie’s life, but when the mission and thus Ripley’s hope for a better life threatens to fail, Tom resorts to means such as murder and identity theft.

The series by Steven Zaillian (“The Night Of – The Truth of a Night”) logically goes into more detail with its duration than the previous thriller films – but at times it also has an overly slow narrative style, when Ripley keeps running up the stairs, gets off a train with a suitcase again, checks into a hotel at great expense or when a cat curiously observes his goings-on.

Almost like “Saltburn”

The series – with its harmless-seeming murderer with homoerotic tendencies – is likely to find a well-prepared audience worldwide. The hype film “Saltburn” about psychopath Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan), which was a social media trend at the beginning of the year and catapulted the more than 22-year-old hit “Murder on the Dancefloor” back into the charts, is similar the old Ripley material.

Johnny Flynn embodies Dickie Greenleaf, which Jude Law did in the 1999 film version by Anthony Minghella (“The English Patient”). Dakota Fanning has taken on the role of Marge, Dickie’s girlfriend (25 years ago it was Gwyneth Paltrow). She’s not at all comfortable with Tom Ripley. Louis Hofmann (“Dark”) and John Malkovich also appear in small roles in the series.

Global star Malkovich is – like Dennis Hopper in Wim Wenders’ Highsmith film adaptation “The American Friend” – one of the stars who has also played Tom Ripley. Malkovich played the serial killer 22 years ago in the film “Ripley’s Game”, the film adaptation of another part of Patricia Highsmith’s innovative Ripley novels.

Andrew Scott’s “Ripley,” which seems thoroughly amoral, is rarely troubled by remorse. This leads viewers into the memorable situation of rooting for the devious quick-change artist. Diabolical.