I didn't take to this at all the first time I saw it, it felt far too long (actually I still think that), and that it was overly-sanitised. I didn't feel you got much idea of Tom Ripley being the disturbed young man that he is. Having seen it a couple more times since I've changed my mind, and that's all down to Matt Damon's acting. A lot of Hollywood actors wouldn't even want to attempt a role like this, but he does it to perfection. There is nothing overblown or overly-theatrical in his acting, which considering the role he's playing would have been easy for any second-rate actor to do.
The filming is lush and sumptous, both in the first hour which is set in gorgeous southern Italy, (captured beautifully), and the second part of the film which moves north. Jude Law does a good job of playing the handsome yet excrutiatingly-superficial Dickie Greenleaf, although Gwyneth Paltrow seems to spend most of the film looking rather at a loss as to what she's supposed to do with herself, which I guess to be fair is pretty much like the character she's playing! Cate Blanchett has a stronger role as the geeky poor-little-rich-girl heiress who befriends Ripley. One of the pivotal themes to the story is the snobbery which runs rampent in the world which Ripley longs to join, and you know that Blanchett's character wouldn't be anywhere near as friendly to him if she knew who he was really Tom Ripley, toilet-attendant.
The homosexual undertones are exactly that, undertones. You do feel for Ripley's frustration at not being able to be honest about his feelings for Dickie, and know that this crowd would tear him apart if they really guessed the truth. The plot is as complex as any Hitchcock thriller, and it is astonishing the knots it gets itself into in the second half of the film. And being a jazz buff I thought the music was pretty good too.