In 1950s Italy, psychotic American outsider Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is prepared to go to any lengths to worm his way into high society.

Among the rich, carefree ex-pats, he talks his way into the lives of couple Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow. But it’s a very dangerous game he’s playing…

This beautifully staged thriller, based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel and directed by Anthony Minghella, is all bright fashions and glossy nostalgia on the surface but, underneath, it is devilishly callous.

Law is superb as the impetuous good-time guy Dickie Greenleaf, Cate Blanchett is luminous as an heiress Damon meets and Philip Seymour Hoffman, as the shabby American who rumbles Ripley, is excellent, too.

But it’s Damon’s razor-sharp performance (‘I always thought it would be better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody’) that propels the movie to greatness.