A section from
‘A Jedi shall not know hatred, nor fear… nor love.’ from Star Wars Episode II
RIPLEY’S GAME - PATRICIA HIGHSMITH
‘Tom was whistling a Neapolitan tune. He felt well, not tired at all, not even in need of a cigarette. Life afforded few pleasures tantamount to disposing off Miafiosi.’
‘Anti-hero’ is a bad-guy who has our sympathies. His style, situation, or their choice between the devil and the deep sea. These removes them from the bad and puts them in the no man’s land between good and evil that all of us find ourselves in. We can’t hate the anti-hero.
Tom Ripley is no anti-hero; he is downright evil and almost textbook psychopathic. Book publishers in collusion with linguists label him as an anti-hero to sell books, but Tom Ripley is not right. What is it about the man? Style and charm, brains and cunning, balls and audacity.
Unlike other perpetually inept villains like the arch-villain Lex Luther who fail at every attempt at world domination, Ripley simply wants to live the good life. A large house, a rich and desirable wife, tasteful friends and lively conversation, painting, music and the occasional con or murder.
Tom Ripley was doing quite well for himself by the time of ‘Ripley’s Game’; he had acquired a fine house, a rich and pretty French wife. They were living off her allowance in addition to Tom’s regular income from an inheritance and art scam. And Tom had a wicked but hushed reputation in his social circle.
Tom nevertheless is well aware of his propensity towards the criminal and still maintains contact with underworld elements like Reeves - a go-to guy for European criminals.
Reeves presents Tom with a problem and his own unique solution but needs someone to ‘execute’ it. Reeves has been entrusted with keeping the Italian mafia out of Hamburg; and Reeves plan to do that by pitting the two potential threats against each other. To keep his own good name out of the picture Reeves needs an assassin with a clean slate - someone above suspicion.
Tom asks for some time to ponder over the problem.
Enter Trevanny - a French craftsman with his own issues. Ripley subtly harasses and manipulates his mark until Trevanny is maneuvered into a position from which he must accept the assignment. With some timely help from Ripley, Trevanny completes the kills, but unluckily one Mafiosi sees Tom’s face and their troubles begin.
Devious, subtle and intelligent, ‘Ripley’s Game’ is another chapter in the exploits of the consummate and all round bad-guy Tom Ripley.
THE RATIONALISATION OF A KILL
(IN TOM RIPLEY’S VIEW)
Tom hated the Mafia, hated their loan-sharking, their blackmail, their bloody church, their cowardliness in forever delegating their dirty work to underlings, so that the law couldn’t get its hands on the bigger bastards among them, never get them behind bars except on charges of income-tax evasion or some other triviality. The Mafiosi made Tom feel almost virtuous by comparison. At this thought Tom laughed out loud, a laugh which rang in the tiny metal-and-tile room in which he stood.
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