Cinema: Can Matt Play Ripley's Game?

He brings feeling to an unfeeling murderer

First question: who is Tom Ripley? He is the lead character in five novels by Patricia Highsmith and now, as incarnated by Matt Damon, a beguiling movie icon in the making. Second question: Who cares? For a start, an international coterie of readers spread across four decades. To that devoted coterie, add Anthony Minghella. "Ripley is one of the most interesting characters in postwar fiction," Minghella says, and he ought to know. The writer-director has spent three years, ever since he finished his Oscar-winning epic The English Patient, puzzling out the emotional vectors of crime fiction's most seductive sociopath.

Set mostly...

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