Happy Birthday Matt Damon: A look at the roles where the actor outdid himself
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Happy Birthday Matt Damon: A look at the roles where the actor outdid himself
Shilpa S
Oct 08, 2021

Matt Damon is definitely one of the most well known names in Hollywood cinema. The actor has had his name attached to some of the finest films in the industry, as well as blockbusters which have gained him international recognition. Although he kick-started his career in 1988, it wasn't until almost a decade later that audiences recognised the stars' enormous talent. But his talents lie not only in writing, but as a scriptwriter too, which is evident from the Academy Award for Best Screenplay he garnered in his name; an award he shared with longtime friend and collaborator Ben Affleck. As an actor, Damon has tackled a wide variety of roles touching upon an array of genres, proving he is not one to be limited.

As the prolific actor turns another year around the sun, here is a look back at some films where he wooed both audiences and critics alike.

Good Will Hunting
8.4OTTplay Rating
Widely regarded as the film that helped Damon find his feet in Hollywood, Good Will Hunting is a touching tale of how an aimless genius finds his purpose, with the help of some kind people in his life. Damon stars as the titular protagonist, a janitor with an intellectual gift, jaded, apathetic and set in his ways. The walls he had built up over the years to protect himself do him more harm than good, and with the help of a gentle therapist, he slowly starts to pull them down to be a better version of himself. Damon gives a heartfelt performance, perfectly capturing the inner turmoil of the tortured genius. He had also co-written the script, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
The Bourne Ultimatum
8.5OTTplay Rating
Based on the 1990 novel of the same name, The Bourne Ultimatum is the third installment in the Bourne franchise. Damon returns as the titular CIA operative, a skilled assassin on the run. The film continues Bourne’s story as he is targeted by a dangerous organisation, and as he tries to search for more answers regarding his past. The film became the most positively reviewed installment in the franchise. The fast paced thriller also witnessed a performance by Damon oozing conviction as the intellectual, tough as nails agent.
The Departed
8.8OTTplay Rating
Directed by Martin Scorsese, this fast paced crime thriller tells the story of a corrupt FBI officer and an undercover police officer infiltrating a ruthless gang, as the two try to carry out their plans without blowing their covers. Damon portrays the dishonourable officer, willing to betray even his own men for personal gain. The actor slips into the role of the antagonist effortlessly, perfectly capturing the calm yet vile nature of the amoral agent in a way that comes out in a much more wonderfully prominent way when he interacts with other characters.
The Martian
8.2OTTplay Rating
From the mind of legendary director Ridley Scott, this 2015 science fiction drama is based on Andy Weir’s novel of the same name. It tells the tale of an astronaut stranded on Mars after his crew mistakenly presumes him to be dead, and his struggles to stay alive on the barren planet until help arrives. Damon essays the role of the astronaut in distress, who has to rely on his resourcefulness and intellect to survive the harsh planet. His performance is something delightful to witness, as the star balances the emotions of the astronaut; his attempts at being cheerful despite his circumstance and his frustrations at the slightest mistake which may have huge costs. He was lauded for the performance, which earned him an Academy Award nomination.
Ford v. Ferrari
8.4OTTplay Rating
A story of an iconic battle between the titular automobile giants, the film tells the story of how the minds behind the Ford empire sent two men to create the race car of the century. Damon portrays the role of Carroll Shelby, a race car driver and edesigner tasked with designing a vehicle which has the potential to defeat the behemoth that was the Ferrari. His gripping performance alongside Christian Bale, and the duo’s delightful chemistry, is definitely one of the highlights of the film.
The Talented Mr. Ripley
7.7OTTplay Rating
Based on the 1955 novel of the same name, this psychological thriller film tells the tale of a young man who is tasked with the mission of persuading a millionaire’s erratic son to return home to his family. Damon stars as the conniving Ripley, who befriends the unpredictable young man and partakes in his lavish lifestyle, forgetting his duty. But when things take an unexpected turn, Ripley does what he’s best at- making the most of his situation. Damon’s dark and disturbing rendition of the character is sure to make viewers question their own moral standing, when they find themselves rooting for the anti-hero despite his deeds.

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