Reviewed by: Hillari Hunter
Starring: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Phillip Seymour Hoffman | Director: Anthony Minghella | Producers: Sydney Pollack, William Horberg, Tom Sternberg | Distributor: Paramount Pictures
It’s the 1950s, and Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is sent to Italy by Dickie Greenleaf’s father, a wealthy ship builder businessman. Mr. Greenleaf wants Ripley to convince his neer-do-well son to come home back to America. However, once playboy Ripley gets to Italy, he is seduced by a life of leisure and doesn’t want to leave. He intends to stay forever, but when Dickie decides he’s tired of Ripley’s friendship, things turn deadly as Ripley decides to take on Dickie’s identity.
This film has many layers, as we find out later that Dickie is not the charming young man he appears to be. It is disturbing to watch how Ripley starts weaving his web of lies, then has to keep up the deception in order to cover himself.
There are murders, a suicide, and scene after scene of lies and deception. Dickie and girlfriend Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow) live together, and are shown in a partially off-screen sex scene. Dickie and Ripley are shown partially naked in several scenes as well. Ripley himself is homosexual, and while there are no same-sex scenes, there are plenty of hints that he practices an alternative lifestyle, including his declaration of love for Dickie in a crucial scene.
This story is a prime example of how coveting what another has, and deceiving people leads to nothing but pain, destruction, and heavy guilt. The film is very creepy; for adults only.