In 1950’s America, Tom Ripley (played by Matt Damon) is a charming and personable young man, with a low-paying janitorial job. He’s also a natural con-artist and in any situation he always finds the most lucrative angle. Dickie Greenleaf (by Jude Law) is the son of a millionaire shipyard owner (by James Rebhorn) and he’s somewhere in Italy, living the high life with his girlfriend Marge (by Gwyneth Paltrow). One day, Tom is serving at a garden party and manages to convince Mr Greenleaf that he knows Dickie from his Princeton days. He gladly accepts a paid assignment in Italy to find the misbehaving Dickie and bring him home. When they meet, the handsome and confident Dickie isn’t fooled by Ripley for a second, but he plays along for a while rather than face being back at home and the reality of the family business. Tom soon settles in to the luxury Mediterranean playground and into Dickie and Marge’s friendship. As well as a good liar, Tom is also adept at imitation and forgery, so when Dickie tires of Tom, Tom goes to extreme lengths to adopt every privilege that Greenleaf’s life offers. He makes his way on the goodwill of affluent friends and acquaintances Meredith (by Cate Blanchett) and Freddie (by Philip Seymour Hoffman).
This film is engaging and vivid. The Italian Riviera sparkles like a gem and the main characters shine right out of the screen. It demonstrates the marvellous 1950’s lifestyle for rich Americans particularly well and you can feel the warm sun beating down on your back just as Jude Law, Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow soak it up on the Italian beach. Matt Damon is very intuitive as the destitute Ripley who will do anything to adopt a more affluent lifestyle. Jude Law is perfectly cast as the superficial Dickie, who will “play” with Tom for as long as he’s interested then cast him aside like an old shoe. Cate Blanchett’s performance as the rich tourist, Meredith, is marvellous and she demonstrates exquisite timing. However, for all that, the film does go on for too long and I feel it could have ended sooner with a more effective arrival at the same conclusion, but the story is entertaining and the movie is a pleasure to watch.
This movie is a dramatisation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel,
Made in 1999. Directed by Anthony Minghella