MovieChat Forums > Ripley's Game (2002) Discussion > Why did Jonathan take the bullet....?(Sp...

Why did Jonathan take the bullet....?(Spoiler s)


At the end why did Jonathan take the bullet that was meant for Ripley? What do you guys think?

"I have so many problems I think about killing myself, but that wouldn't solve them all."

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having just watched it i thought because johnathan was terminally ill he wanted to end his life the way he wanted to instead of not knowing when it was going to happen :-(

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pley doesn’t understand why Jonathan took the bullet for him. At the end of the film when Ripley’s lover is playing the harpsicord the only incident of all the events that have gone before that passes through Ripley’s mind is that of Jonathan calmy looking into his eyes after taking the bullet that was intended for him. Ripley is a psychopath without a conscience. Not for him emotions such as guilt or fear, everything and everyone is a game to be played or manipulated for his own ends and amusement. The fact that the image of a dying Jonathan passes through Ripley’s mind does not represent some emotional awakening, far from it, it represents an enigma a puzzle which Ripley’s mind can not and never will grasp. Ripley doesn’t understand how one human can act in a selfless manner towards another human, he does not possess the quality of empathy. In dying in such a manner Jonathan may have intended to create an unresolvable paradox in the mind of his tormentor and saviour Ripley, namely bringing about the ironic situation of the self serving emotionally detached mind owing its existance to the selfless emotive act of a normal human being. Ultimately Jonathan fails. Firstly Ripley is unaffected by such irrational behaviour, the irritionality of normal human beings is merely a behaviour to be factored in and exploited by the pschopathic mind. The fact that Ripley is saved by such behaviour does not undermine him, the whole incident is merely another puzzle to consider, a game from which to learn. Secondly and more provocatively Jonathan fails because the motives behind his act share more with Ripleys mindset that he would care to imagine. His death is a final throw of the die in a game in which he attempts to unsettle the mind of the man who played and manipulated him so successfully, the played attempts to become the player by setting up a paradox which he hopes will create a conscience in the mind of his tormentor, but in doing so throws out any pretence of selflessness, therefore undermining the act completely.

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Jonathan saved his wife by taking the bullet. Had Ripley been shot, the gangster would have taken out Jonathan and his wife immediately after.

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[deleted]

I am sorry, danedge, if I don't fully grasp your comment. I would like to comment myself on your very first sentence: "(Ri)pley doesn't understand why Jonathan took the bullet for him."
I'd like to disagree -- I think he would have expected it from Jonathan, if ever such an occasion would arise. Seeing Ripley stand in the Teatro, remembering the scene and then SMILING can only mean one thing to me: he achieved exactly what he wanted to. That was the perfect ending to his game. Jonathan had insulted him (at his home, during his birthday party) and he took revenge. Rather elaborate and not very smoothly, but he did. I have to admit, one could almost miss this. I almost did, but then rewound and watched the last few moments again. THIS, and only this explanation gives the whole movie any sense at all to me. Ripley KNEW Jonathan was not a killer, he had a conscience. BUT, the first move in his game was to get Jonathan to commit a crime. From then on, his whole game unraveled and played out JUST like Ripley wanted. Jonathan got endebted to him along the way, became thankful, then first only tried and in the end really saved his life. But this, saving Ripley's life, is nothing surprising to Ripley himself.
ADDITION:
I just went to Amazon.com and found this: "what Ripley has in mind is far more subtle, and infinitely more sinister. A social slight doesn't warrant murder, of course-- just a chain of events that may lead to it."
Well, so it seems like it's far more obvious what's going on in the book.
NOW, the bigger question coming to my mind is this: why did Ripley run to the house when he saw the car with the German license plate? Obviously NOT to save Jonathan. He had just let him out of his car, regretting that his game didn't work. But, didn't he himself prevent Jonathan from being killed earlier? So, why? To witness Jonathan dying? To prevent his wife from being killed? To see how his wife has to witness him dying? To not have her killed but to see how she is suffering?

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i think jonathan took the bullet to save his family. had ripley been shot, as was explained in a previous post, the gunman would then have killed jonathan and his wife.

ripley, although he was an evil bastar d, probably only wanted jonathan to suffer and not his wife. so his revenge was to break up his marriage thus leaving the poor guy with nothing to live for. this would have been far more hurtful for jonathan. not being able to see his family again for something that he had done - being responsible for their misery, not his disease or his death - would be the ultimate punishment.

when ripley sees the car at the end of the film he realizes that jonathan and his whole family are about to be killed, and that would make his whole endeavour pointless. his revenge is yet to be complete so he must stop the gunmen.

the look jonathan gives ripley when he is dying i think is one of thanks and relief. thanks for ripleys help - in the train incident and the final act - and relief that his wife and son were going to be ok - he gives one last long look into his wifes eyes just before he passes.


ripleys smile at the end of the film probably means that he got his revenge, in a way. he did not kill jonathan - he got jonathan to sacrifice his own life for the person ultimately responsible for his death. if you see what i mean. jonathan sacrificed himself for his own murderer. ripley was responsible for the chain events leading to the gunmen being in jonathans house so he was the one who pulled the trigger. i could put this a million different ways but i hope you get my drift.

he got his revenge, jonathan died a hero, fade out, roll credits.

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Jonathan was in love with Ripley.... as a straight male of course.

Jonathan couldn't believe Ripley saved him.... he had to do something.


You can also consider Jonathan had deep homoerotic needs.

Those needs were never expressed because he had never been saved by a man.

But you get that feeling in the Ripley novel, not this movie.


In this case, it's more about straight man in love with another male,

like one of those guys who "love" Michael Jordan or Shaquille O'Neal.

They're so greateful to them, they would take the bullet more than once.



The agony of foreknowledge combined with the impotence to do anything about it

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*beep*. You're good. You have it figured out.

Never let others dictate your opinion on a film: http://www.imdb.com/mymovies/list?l=13340299

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My take on it was slightly different. I don't remember the book well enough to comment on that, but in the film, I thought Jonathan took the bullet partly as an act of redemption. He's commited murder, but he's not a psychopath, and he's still capable of giving his life to save someone else - even someone he finds as repulsive as Ripley. He chooses to end his life on a selfless act.

As for Ripley's attitude to it, I think his final smile is simply because he's happy to still be alive. I don't really think he's capable of feeling emotions like gratitude or guilt as such, but he can think in terms of favours. He's already got his revenge on Jonathan by getting him to kill, but as Jonathan had then done something useful for him, he felt he owed him a favour, so he helps him on the train. Jonathan then helps him again when the gangsters invade Ripley's mansion, so Ripley again repays the favour by going into Jonathan's house to deal with the remaining ones. Notice how Ripley seems surprised at himself that he feels he owes something to Jonathan.

At the end, Ripley is still alive, he owes nothing to anyone, and so he's happy.

You see? I'm a steelworker. I kill what I eat. See?

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[deleted]

DrPrunesquallor gave the best interpretation.....cause I for one did not know why riply helped jonathan on the train or saved his wife at the end...
funniest part of the movie was riply's partner and the line--oh i guess he did not go to south america afterall..incase u missed it the guy was still alive in the trunk

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I think its a combination of a lot of things. I think Ripley was shocked that Jonathan took the bullet, and he didn't understand why. I think that Ripley felt a bit remorseful. A BIT, like a tiny tiny fraction of remorse. I think he was feeling the remorse when he started thinking about what had happened while listening to his girlfriend play the music at the end. AND THEN, he starts smiling which I thought was the sinister side that IS him coming out. I thought he was smiling because once again he'd gotten away, once again he was the RIPLEY.

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He took the bullet because he wanted Ripley to live. No mystery there. He had already risked his life going to the villa so it's clear he already was determined that Ripley should live. So it was just a continuation. Jonathan had been afraid of death and Ripley had helped him with that. Ripley is smiling at the end because he likes art and Jonathan's death was very operatic. It suited Ripley's aesthetic sensibilities and was a perfect ending to his work. An epiphany.

The plot doesn't make huge sense overall. How did Ripley know Jonathan was on the train? It's unlikely Reeves would have told him as Ripley had threatened him not to involve Jonathan further. Yet there he is in the bathroom. Why risk all killing three men instead of just killing Reeves? Maybe that was just his game. He wanted to see if he could pull it off.

Ultimately, I don't care because I laugh all the way through 'Ripley's Game'. It's a fun film.

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Ripley called the Brits friend/henchman (you see him get shot by the German bodyguards) thats how he knew Jonathan was on the train. I thought at first Ripley was calling in a hit on the Brit because he was getting annoying and drawing heat on Ripley

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I thought it was because Jonathan was as bored with this preposterous film as I was and it was the quickest way out for him!

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My take on it is that Jonathan's wife who had rejected him, rushed over to him when he was shot. He died with her back on his side. I think that's why he did it.

Ripley ( I think) said originally wasnt going to go to his girlfriend's concert, but he went because he wanted her to look at him like Jonathan and his wife looked at each other as Jonathan died.

Ripley and Jonathan learned something from each other.



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Better to take a bullet then have to explain everything to his wife.

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I think Jonathan did not consciously make the choice to save Ripley as it all happened so fast and I am sure he did not have time to think but only to react. At least thats how it would be in real life anyway.
As for Ripleys reaction yes being a sociopath that was a move he could not fathom because it involved self sacrafice.
As to Jonathans faint smile upon the realization of what he did I think he was pleased that he had not gone and lost all of his humanity.
As for Ripleys reflection of the event at the concert I believe to the contrary of what others have said and that he did indeed feel or understand what goodness was (just like the Grinch). And I do believe this is what was intended by the films female director.

OK flick 6/10

There is, NO Gene for the Human Spirit. Gattaca

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I think, since the alternate title of the movie is Ripley's Amuse, is that the smile Ripley gives at the end shows how detached he was enotionally to the monumental events that just happened in these people's lives. The wife and chils are fatherless and devestated, but to Ripley, it was just an amusing little adventure. By the next week, they might not even be in his thoughts.

I think Jonathan took the bullet to redeem himself in his wife's eyes so no matter what she heard or thought about him, she witnessed him sacrificing his life. I think that's why he smiled as he died. He ended on a good note and in his way.

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I think you have it partly right, sandifay62, but I would like to add that inaddition to Jonathan redeeming himself, he also ended his involvement with Ripley and anything further that might have caused him and his family even more devastation. Thus, the smile and look of peace. He was out of the game, and since he probably would have died in a couple of months anyway, what better way to go than a "hero" of sorts?

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