The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)



Critic Consensus: With Matt Damon's unsettling performance offering a darkly twisted counterpoint to Anthony Minghella's glossy direction, The Talented Mr. Ripley is a suspense thriller that lingers.

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Movie Info

After the Oscar-winning The English Patient, writer/director Anthony Minghella attempted another tricky literary adaptation with The Talented Mr. Ripley, which features heartthrob Matt Damon cast against type as a psychopathic bisexual murderer. Tom Ripley (Damon) is a bright and charismatic sociopath who makes his way in mid-'50s New York City as a men's room attendant and sometimes pianist, though his real skill is in impersonating other people, forging handwriting, and running second-rate … More

Rating: R (for violence, language and brief nudity)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Patricia Highsmith, Anthony Minghella
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 27, 2000
Paramount Pictures - Official Site


as Tom Ripley

as Marge Sherwood

as Dickie Greenleaf

as Peter Smith-Kingsley

as Herbert Greenleaf

as Insp. Roverini

as Alvin MacCarron

as Aunt Joan

as Fausto

as Silvana

as Colonnello Verrecchi...

as Signora Buffi

as Sergeant Baggio

as Emily Greenleaf
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Talented Mr. Ripley

All Critics (132) | Top Critics (33)

Familiarity is the watchword of this overblown opus, which neglects holes in the plot to play up its postmodern theme of identity as pastiche -- a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Full Review… | March 18, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

On balance, The Talented Mr. Ripley is worth seeing more for its undeniably delightful journey than its final destination.

Full Review… | April 27, 2007
New York Observer
Top Critic

Not only is it an elegantly polished affair, with top notch performances all round, and magnificent camerawork and editing, it's also acutely aware of how class, money and sex shape desire and resentment.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's a gorgeously unsettling film. You can hide in the shadows, but luminescence exposes who you are, and the only escape is into another identity.

Full Review… | August 7, 2004
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Even before its release, The Talented Mr. Ripley has attracted some mighty serious analytic attention.

Full Review… | April 25, 2003
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

A "10 Best" achievement, thanks to writer-director Anthony Minghella's acute interpretation of Patricia Highsmith's novel, a shooting style that wallows in decadence and danger, and a choice cast completely in sync with the stringent demands of the story.

Full Review… | September 21, 2013
Creative Loafing

Audience Reviews for The Talented Mr. Ripley

Compelling, dark, shocking, and fascinating, The Talented Mr. Ripley is expertly constructed and features exceptional acting, writing, and a thrilling narrative.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

A dive into the mind of a frustrated arriviste and the violent and cunning methods he uses to fulfill his social and affective yearnings. Subtle, suspenseful and fascinating character study.

Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer


Anthony Minghella absolutely knocked it out of the park with this taut and quite faithful adaptation of the first entry in a series of noir thrillers by Patricia Highsmith.

Set in the 1950s, Tom Ripley is a young, bisexual man whose only real talents in life are forging handwriting, impersonating others, and running second-rate scams. He makes his way in New York as a men's room attendant and occasional pianist, but, after being mistaken for a Princeton grad, he comes into contact with a shipping tycoon named Greenleaf who offers Tom $1,000 plus expenses to go to Italy and convince his wayward son Dickie to return home to the States.

Tom sets out on this task, but after befriending Dickie and spending lots of time with him and his lover Marge, he becomes dangerously envious of the carefree and lavish lifestyle lead by Dickie, and after his advances are rejected, Tom decides he'd rather become Dickie instead of continuing his life as it was. After impulsively murdering DIckie and assuming his identity, he finds himself playing a dangerous game in order to cover his tracks and keep the truth hidden.

Aside from greatly expanding on a minor character from the book and creating a whole new one for the movie, this is a wonderfully accurate and faithful take on the source material. It's a very taut and gripping psychological thriller, and the cast masterfully bring the characters to life. Matt Damon is tremendous, and successfully goes against type as the psychopathic con man with serious issues when it comes to identity and a sense of belonging. He's quite chilling, and you really feel on edge as he tries to pull off the task of becoming someone else.

Jude Law is marvelous as the arrogant and brash Dickie, and he really sells the carefree hipster persona of the character. Gwyneth Paltrow is really good as Dickie's lover Marge, although I feel she really gets overshadowed by everyone else, namely Philip Seymour Hoffman as Dickie's friend Freddie Miles, a really slimey and highly suspicious worm who barely conceals his contempt for the tormented lower class Ripley. It's a marvelous performance, and a real tribute to his talents, as Freddie is probably the most loathsome character here.

The production values are top notch, the cinematography and location shooting are absolutely gorgeous, and the film is really strong when it comes to delivering the tension, suspense, and thrills. This is a classy and wonderfully engrossing thriller that you should definitely make a point to see.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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