Mixing glamour and pathology, Anthony Minghella's rendition of the Patricia Highsmith novel The Talented Mr. Ripley presents a visually alluring backdrop and a view of the decadent rich that almost justifies the eponymous villain's heinous acts. Shooting on location in Italy, Minghella revels in the seductive effect of socialite Dickie Greenleaf's dolce vita, from the hothouse atmosphere of Italian jazz clubs to the deluxe coastal villa and sailboat; however, the snobberies and carelessness of the wealthy reveal the rotten core beneath the lustrous existence to which Tom Ripley aspires. Matt Damon plays off his fresh-faced looks to make Tom a creepy and ephemeral, yet eerily sympathetic, sociopath. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Cate Blanchett are pitch-perfect as, respectively, a boorish skeptic and Tom's most innocent dupe, and Jude Law turns in a star-making performance as the heartlessly charismatic aristocrat who becomes the focal point of Tom's many desires. Despite strong reviews to go with its artistic pedigree, The Talented Mr. Ripley picked up Oscar nominations only for best costumes, art direction, and score to go with nods for Minghella's adapted screenplay and Law's performance.
by Lucia Bozzola review