Ripley's Game (2002, GBR/USA/ITA) C-110m. ** D: Liliana Cavani. Starring John Malkovich, Ray Winstone, Dougray Scott, Lena Headley, Chiara Caselli, Hanns Zischler. Patricia Highsmith adaptation makes use of her main gimmick from STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951). Terminally ill Scott is persuaded by crook Winstone to become a killer, with Ripley (Malkovich) pulling the strings. Of course, things go awry, and Scott soon wishes he had never accepted the deal. Well-acted crime drama fails because its main character is so cold and off-putting, and the story becomes less interesting as it goes along. Previously filmed by Wim Wenders as DER AMERIKANISCHE FREUND (1977). Score by Ennio Morricone.

© Ron Altman