The Talented Mr. Ripley

Director/Writer:Anthony Minghella
Miramax/Paramount; R; 135 minutes
Cast:Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Cate Blanchett
Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith

Soaring beauty, far-flung locales, homoeroticism, and delirious attention to period chic are all here, and to this swoon-ready mix Minghella adds a Hitchcockian twist.

Matt Damon is Tom Ripley, a New York blue-collar boy who accepts an assignment to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf (Law), prodigal Princeton son who's been basking in the Italian countryside in 1958 as a jazz dilettante. Reinventing himself as a Princeton alum, Tom inserts himself into the lives of Dickie and his fiancée, Marge (Paltrow), becoming seduced by and envious of their idyllic existence. Jude Law evokes the rebellious aesthete with smoldering good-looks and effortless charisma. Impeccable acting alongside Minghella's dreamily luscious vision shine when the film turns dark and Mr.Ripley's cold-blooded talents bubble to the surface of a sparkling Italian sea. Hoffman stuns as Freddie, another rich, lascivious ex-pat.