Culture

From the Vault: 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' by Patricia Highsmith, Starring Matt Damon and Jude Law

The Talented Mr. Ripley is a chilling literary hall of mirrors. Patricia Highsmith introduces the alarmingly suave -- yet utterly amoral -- Tom Ripley. Like a hero in a latter-day Henry James novel, he is sent to Italy with a commission to coax a prodigal young American back to his wealthy father. But Ripley finds himself very fond of Dickie Greenleaf. He wants to be like him -- exactly like him. Ripley stops at nothing to accomplish his goal--not even a murder. Turning the mystery inside out, Highsmith shows the terrifying abilities afforded to a man unhindered by the concept of evil.

In 1999, Highsmith's novel was adapted into a movie directed by Anthony Minghella ("The English Patient"). The film was critically acclaimed and nominated for five Academy Awards. Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Cate Blanchett all turned in brilliant performances. Damon is the perfect balance of creepy and charming and Law is as magnetic as ever. Of course, that turns out to be his biggest problem. If you've not seen the film -- or read the book -- check out both next chance you get.

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