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Talented Mr Ripley, The (1999, Matt Damon, Jude Law)



Although Patricia Highsmith’s amoral sociopathic killer Tom Ripley has graced the silver screen before, in Plein Soleil and Wim Wenders’ The American Friend , this is the first time his name appeared in the title. Anthony Minghella’s Oscar-nominated, BAFTA-winning film stars Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, a drifter and a chancer. Falling into conversation by chance with shipbuilding magnate Herbert Greenleaf (James Rebhorn), who wrongly believes Tom and his son Dickie (Jude Law) were Princeton contemporaries, he offers Tom passage and money to go to Europe and persuade the dissolute Dickie to return home.

Grabbing the chance, Tom 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 Tom could take over Dickie’s life, he would be much more appreciative of the Greenleaf fortune but there’s one obstacle in his way…

Damon’s somewhat bland face is perfect for the role. Emotionless, he plots murder, identity swapping, fending off Marge and the police’s questions, even managing to keep Meredith Logue (Cate Blanchett), who believes things Tom has told her that could expose his lies away from the other. Ripley is almost playing a game with himself, deliberately placing himself in tricky situations seemingly for the fun of getting out of them. Law as the louche Dickie superbly counterpoints Tom’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 .


production details
USA | 139 minutes | 1999

Director: Anthony Minghella
Script: Anthony Minghella, Tony Wright, based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel

Matt Damon as Tom Ripley
Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf
Cate Blanchett as Meredith Logue
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Freddie Miles
Philip Baker Hall as Alvin MacCarron
Jack Davenport as Peter Smith-Kingsley
Alessandra Vanzi as Silvana’s Mother
Stefania Rocca as Silvana
Renato Scarpa as Tailor
Celia Weston as Aunt Joan
Fiorello as Fausto
Gwyneth Paltrow as Marge Sherwood
James Rebhorn as Herbert Greenleaf
Sergio Rubini as Inspector Roverini
Ivano Marescotti as Colonnello Verrecchia
Anna Longhi as Signora Buffi
Alessandro Fabrizi as Sergeant Baggio
Lisa Eichhorn as Emily Greenleaf
Gretchen Egolf as Fran
Jack Willis as Greenleaf Chaffeur
Frederick Alexander Bosche as Fran’s Boyfriend
Dario Bergesio as Police Officer
Larry Kaplan as Uncle Ted
Claire Hardwick as Gucci Assistant
Antonio Prester as American Express Clerk
Lorenzo Mancuso as Bus Driver
Onofrio Mancuso as Priest
Massimo Reale as Immigration Officer
Emanuele Carucci Viterbi as American Express Clerk
Caterina Deregibus as Dahlia
Silvana Bosi as Ermelinda
Gianfranco Barra as Desk Manager Aldo
Deirdre Lovejoy as Fighting Neighbor
Brian Tarantina as Fighting Neighbor
Guy Barker as Trumpet (Napoli Jazz Septet)
Bernardo Sassetti as Piano (Napoli Jazz Septet)
Perico Sambeat as Alto Sax (Napoli Jazz Septet)
Gene Calderazzo as Drums (Napoli Jazz Septet) mer
Joseph Lepore as Double Bass (Napoli Jazz Septet)
Rosario Giuliuni as Tenor Sax (Napoli Jazz Septet)
Eddy Palerno as Electric Guitar (Napoli Jazz Septet)
Byron Wallen as Cornet (San Remo Jazz Sextet)
Pete King as Alto Sax (San Remo Jazz Sextet)
Clark Tracey as Drums (San Remo Jazz Sextet)
Jean Toussaint as Tenor Sax (San Remo Jazz Sextet)
Geoff Gascoyne as Bass (San Remo Jazz Sextet)
Carlo Negroni as Piano (San Remo Jazz Sextet)
Beppe Fiorello as Silvana’s Fiancé
Marco Quaglia as Silvana’s Brother
Marco Rossi as Photographer
Roberto Valentini as Onegin (Eugene Onegin Player)
Francesco Bovino as Lensky (Eugene Onegin Player)
Stefano Canettieri as Zaretsky (Eugene Onegin Player)
Marco Foti as Guillot (Eugene Onegin Player)
Ludovica Tinghi as Fausto’s Fiancée
Nicola Pannelli as Dinelli’s Cafe Waiter
Paolo Calabresi as Customs Officer
Pietro Ragusa as Record Store Owner
Simone Empler as Boy Singer
Gianluca Secci as Policeman
Manuel Ruffini as Policeman
Pierpaolo Lovino as Policeman
Roberto Di Palma as San Remo Hotel Desk Clerk
Dominic Fumusa as Italian Boy in Rome (uncredited)


Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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