Set in the late 1950s, Anthony Minghella's Oscar-nominated, Bafta-winning 1999 film stars Matt Damon (pictured) as Tom Ripley, a lavatory attendant, drifter and chancer. And it's by chance that he falls into conversation with shipbuilding magnate Herbert Greenleaf (James Rebhorn), who wrongly believes that Ripley and his son Dickie (Jude Law) were Princeton contemporaries. He offers Ripley passage and money to go to Europe and persuade the dissolute Dickie to return home.
Grabbing the chance, Ripley travels to Italy, where Dickie is enjoying the easy life with girlfriend Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow). Inveigling his way into their company, he starts to envy Dickie's lifestyle and easy money which he takes for granted. If Ripley could take over Dickie's life, he would be much more appreciative of the Greenleaf fortune, but there's one obstacle in his way...
Matt Damon's somewhat bland face is perfect for the role of Tom Ripley. Emotionless, he plots murder, identity swapping, fending off Sherwood and the police's questions, even managing to keep Meredith Logue (Cate Blanchett) - who believes things Ripley has told her that could expose his lies - away from the others. Ripley is almost playing a game with himself, deliberately placing himself in tricky situations, seemingly for the fun of getting out of them.
Jude Law, as the louche Dickie Greenleaf, superbly counterpoints Ripley's single-mindedness, while both Paltrow and Blanchett, although somewhat relegated to supporting roles, capture the conflicting feelings they both have for the talented Mr Ripley.