It's hard to take your eyes off Andrew Scott in Netflix's 'Ripley'

Andrew Scott as con artist Tom Ripley in a scene from Netflix's adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel "The Talented Mr. Ripley." --/Netflix/dpa
Andrew Scott as con artist Tom Ripley in a scene from Netflix's adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel "The Talented Mr. Ripley." --/Netflix/dpa
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"The talented Mr. Ripley," the 1955 novel and first instalment of what would become a series about one of the most beloved sociopathic con artists in pop culture by American novelist and true master of psychological thrillers Patricia Highsmith, has been adapted for screen several times.

After "Purple Noon" (1960) starring Alain Delon and "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (1999) featuring Matt Damon, Netflix has turned the acclaimed thriller into an eight-part black-and-white miniseries spanning more than seven hours and starring Andrew Scott, one of the hottest actors on the circuit right now (in every sense of the word).

The plot

The story of Tom Ripley begins in 1960s New York, where he is hired by a shipping magnate to stop his son Richard "Dickie" Greenleaf from wasting his life on Dolce Vita in Italy and to bring him back to America.

Ripley manages to weasel his way into Dickie's life quite effortlessly, but when eventually his mission appears to be faltering (and with it the prospect of a better life for the petty criminal), he begins to take more drastic measures.

The series written and directed by Steven Zaillian, probably best known for his screenplay for the 1993 movie "Schindler's List," has more opportunity to go into detail than the movie adaptations, though that sometimes results in over-the-top close-ups and prolonged scenes of Ripley walking up stairs or checking in at hotels.

A dazzling (Irish) Scott

Scott, 47, has long since come into his own, ever since playing Benedict Cumberbatch's adversary James Moriarty in the BBC's "Sherlock" series or the sexy priest in Phoebe Waller-Bridge's "Fleabag".

In 2023, he was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in "All of Us Strangers," in just another sign that Irish actors are doing really well right now.

Scott's face - you may call it expressive, or enigmatic - is perfect for the role of the versatile criminal who travels thorough Italy weaving a web of lies across Naples, Atrani, Rome, Sanremo, Palermo and Venice.

Zaillian kept the series in black and white and every shot by Robert Elswit's camera would make for an atmospheric postcard or print.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, the director said that the move was inspired by a cover of a Ripley novel, with black and white just setting the tone perfectly for the story in his view.

Is 'Ripley' a match for 'Saltburn'?

The Netflix adaptation with the wonderfully illusive and attractive con artist at its centre follows "Saltburn," the psychological thriller directed by Emerald Fennell released earlier this year also starring another Irishman (Barry Keoghan) that sparked a hype on social media.

It remains to be seen how "Ripley" is received by Saltburn fans, but they can look forward to a stellar cast including Johnny Flynn as Dickie Greenleaf and Dakota Fanning who plays Dickie's very suspicious girlfriend, plus it's impossible not to root for the world's sexiest con artist.