Trump loses the last debate and quite possibly the election

By Luke Wathen

Staff Writer

Well, it finally happened. The last presidential debate of 2016 occurred Wednesday night between two candidates who have made no secret of their distaste for one another. In my last election recap I made it a point to say that the last debate was marred with a horrible lack of civility between the two candidates, something that made the debate nigh impossible to watch.

The final debate, however, started on a more promising note. For 30 minutes, both candidates took the stage and presented their case as to why they should be elected and why their opponent was not the person suited for the burden of being the president. This window marked a return to the civility of debates past; there were no cheap jokes or insults, only polite disagreements.

This all changed, however, when Hillary Clinton brought up Russia and Vladimir Putin.

While both candidates are flawed in ways beyond measure, Donald Trump has the distinction among the two as being the most thin-skinned. From comments about the size of his hands to his perceived wealth, Trump feels the need to address every attack thrown at him, no matter how petty or irrelevant.

It was this insecurity that ultimately proved his undoing in the final debate. After 30 minutes, debate moderator Chris Wallace questioned Clinton about the content of her emails recently released by WikiLeaks and what she meant when she said she wanted “open borders.” After diverting the question with typical political non-answers, she brought up the Trump campaign’s supposed infatuation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This is where Trump made a fatal mistake. Rather than refuse to acknowledge the attack—which, to be fair, was completely off topic—Trump instead chose to charge Clinton head-on by claiming that Putin had no respect for her.

What followed was a series of name-calling that was reminiscent of a playground squabble. Both candidates took turns calling one another a “puppet” for their perceived lack of leadership skills.

What started off as an optimistic return to civility quickly devolved into the same overly partisan rhetoric that has plagued this election season since the beginning. Both candidates, though Clinton less so, focused more on attacking their opponent’s character rather than their positions. Even worse, they worried so much about attacking the other candidate that they failed to clarify their own positions.

With Election Day fast approaching and several states still up for grabs, Trump’s performance has all but sealed his doom. Trump and others touting the GOP banner are all but condemned to failure in the upcoming election.

It is truly a telling sign when Texas, a state which has not voted Democrat in a presidential election since 1976, is considered somewhat of a swing state, since Trump only has a four point lead. If he cannot pull such a historically red state, his chances of pulling a national plurality are slim.

Once again, I have to declare Hillary Clinton the winner of this debate. Though a tremendously flawed candidate, she remained dignified and stoic during the debate while, once again, Trump wallowed in his own childish narcissism. As a result, a second Clinton presidency is becoming more and more likely.

Trump versus Clinton — and the GOP

By Samuel Stevens

Editorial Editor


   The “Trump Tapes” are the media’s latest deliberate obfuscation from the real issues of the presidential election. Certainly, Donald Trump’s comments were lewd and not fitting for a potential president to make. It is convenient, too, that this decade-old tape surfaced just as Wikileaks released another massive set of emails from Clinton confidant John Podesta.

This is further evidence of mass media collusion on behalf of the Clinton campaign. Every time another Clinton scandal surfaces, they manufacture another crisis for Trump. Yet, each new scandal only makes Trump and his supporters more resolute.

Diving into whether what Trump said is right or wrong is exactly the wrong way to frame the issue. Hillary Clinton has committed actual crimes that threaten national security, and her foreign policy destabilized North Africa and the Middle East. For all the rhetoric about countering terrorism, American policy is one of the main factors creating more insurgents.

Hillary Clinton’s emails revealed a level of corruption so vast they would make the machine politicians of the nineteenth century blush. The fact remains that Clinton has promised favors to foreign governments—Russia being one of them, ironically—in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation, Wikileaks reported on Oct. 7.

Trump’s opposition also came from his own party, with GOP establishment politicians such as Paul Ryan lashing out at the candidate’s comments. John McCain pulled his endorsement. This is yet another chapter in the long story of the Republicans actively undermining their candidate.

Establishment figures like Ryan and McCain are at the height of their hubris. They are yet another sign that the party is comfortable as a punching bag for the left. The conservative movement’s leadership has failed to conserve much of anything. They have stood in front of the train yelling “stop,” and that is about all they have done since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Ryan’s recent announcement, according to a Washington Post article, that he would no longer campaign for Trump will only backfire on him and his ilk. Unlike Ted Cruz (a longtime Bush insider) and the Tea Party, Trump represents the first real shift in Republican politics since Goldwater’s campaign in 1964.

This is a last gasp of the dying GOP establishment to stop their candidate. Since the beginning of the campaign, Trump has faced the most opposition from members of his own party. For voters and conservative activists, the Republican Party has been the chief obstacle to achieve their goals.

Whatever the outcome of the election, Trump has given disaffected voters permission to speak out against political correctness and other forms of thought control. Trump’s direct, frank style is only vulgar to a political class so used to masking falsehoods under the guise of civility.

Partisan rift grows wider with second debate

By Luke Wathen

Staff Writer

The first presidential debate, despite its hype and controversy, yielded a clear winner in Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump did not even begin to prepare for the discussion and it showed; Clinton was able to stay poised and confident while Trump scrambled to cover himself over past controversies.

The second debate was by no means a repeat of the first which produced an obvious winner. Neither Clinton nor Trump seemed able to take a winning edge over the other, despite the same hour and a half timeslot given to them during their last encounter.

It goes without saying that both candidates failed in the most recent debate but in order to find out why, their past strategies have to be taken into account.

Trump, through his combination of insults, buzz words and ability to boil down complicated issues into simple catchphrases, managed to pull the coveted GOP nomination from a pool of candidates that was tremendously overcrowded. While this strategy let him clench the nomination, it does little good in a one on one debate.

On the opposite end of the spectrum stands Clinton. No stranger to controversy, Clinton appeals to the masses with meticulously crafted speeches and talking points that are carefully designed as to not bring up scandals such as Benghazi and her private email server.

As a result, both candidates were out of their element in the town hall style forum that took place. Trump struggled to give actual answers, instead looking for any opportunity to attack his opponent, while Clinton had to delve into murky waters without the safety net of preparation; she did not know what would be asked and as such, could not anticipate how to respond.

The sheer amount of discomfort was palpable from the first few minutes of the debate. Even before the questions began, both candidates refused to shake each other’s hands upon entering, completely ignoring an age-old sign of civility.

When the questions actually did begin, civility completely went out the window. What followed for 90 minutes was a hodgepodge of name-calling, with Clinton accusing Trump of misogyny over recent revelation of comments he made about women to Trump going so far as to call Clinton “the devil.”

Even when the debate ended with the final audience question asking each candidate to name one positive thing about their opponent, passive-aggression was all too prevalent. Clinton complimented Trump’s children though not the candidate himself while Trump complimented Clinton’s perseverance and record of “never quitting” (though this may have been a subtle jab at her failure to secure the Democratic nomination in 2008).

If a winner has to be declared, by a slim margin I would give the victory to Trump. He offered an apology for his comments years prior, something he does not do often, and seemed a bit more personal in the town hall setting.

Clinton was clearly out of her element. Even without a script, her responses felt artificial and her temper flared more times than she would care to admit.

No matter who won, however, the performance between the two candidates was hardly presidential for either party. Let the night of Oct. 9, 2016 be known as the night that the partisan lines in American politics became deeper and civil discourse was dealt a near-fatal blow.

Unpopular opinion: Showalter, Orioles managed game just fine




With many Salisbury University students representing myriad states from the mid-Atlantic region, it was clear to see which ones were from Maryland prior to yesterday’s American League Wild Card game.

Campus was set ablaze in a wave of orange, black and white as devout Baltimore fans sported their colors for the game as the Orioles (89-73) were set to take on the Toronto Blue Jays (89-73).

Some were in bed some were on the edge of their seats but as the hour approached midnight, Blue Jays’ Edwin Encarnacion belted a shot heard round Baltimore as the ball cleared the outfield wall, and then some, of the Rogers Centre. The three-run home run came in the bottom of the 11th inning as the Orioles lost 5-2, ending their brief postseason push.


Edwin Encarnacion celebrates after hitting a three-run walk off homer in the American League Wild Card game. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail image)

As the celebration and uproar subsided for the Blue Jays, many Orioles fans, baseball fans and professional analysts critiqued the Orioles and manager Buck Showalter for the decisions that were made during the game – the most notable being why didn’t Cy Young candidate and star closer Zach Britton not pitch?

Britton, who led the American League in saves (47) mentioned that it was frustrating to sit in the bullpen and watch his team struggle while he couldn’t do anything about it.

But Showalter knew exactly what he was doing.

After the top of the ninth inning, the game was tied at two runs apiece. At this point in time, some argued that Britton should’ve gotten the nod to come in, but instead Brad Brach pitched relief, followed by Darren O’Day, Brian Duensing and finally Ubaldo Jimenez, who gave up the three-run shot that ended the game.

Buck Showalter was playing a game of scenarios all night and he wanted Britton to close the game, to “save” the game for the Orioles and propel them to the American League Divisional Series – it just didn’t happen that way.

According to Gregor Chisholm and Brittany Ghiroli of, Showalter said that Britton was fine.

“I considered a lot of things during the course of the game, but our guys did a good job getting us to that point,” Showalter said. “We just couldn’t finish it off. Yeah, he was available.”

The Orioles gained an early lead as designated-hitter Mark Trumbo, who led the majors in home runs, blasted a ball over the left field wall scoring centerfielder Adam Jones answering Jose Bautista’s solo home run innings earlier. Following that, however, the offense was relatively stagnant.

Then Orioles ace Chris Tillman (16-6) gave up a single to Ezequiel Carrera that scored Michael Saunders tying the game for six-straight innings. Mychal Givens relieved Tillman after that and forced a crucial 5-4-3 double play that got Baltimore out of a jam.

Matter of fact, Mychal Givens, Brad Brach and Darren O’Day combined to force three double plays that kept the scoring in check and gave the offense an opportunity to put up some runs on their end, but there was nothing doing.

The Baltimore hitters were aggressive, impatient and at times undisciplined as they chased after the first pitch and swung at balls in the dirt.

Credit is due to the Blue Jays whom outlasted and persevered through a pitching duel turned chess match, but the Orioles did not help themselves by any means.

In Showalter’s perfect world, the big bats would put up some runs and Britton would come in to close the game. However, with extra innings, Showalter needed pitchers that could continue the game and not close it.

The bullpen was stellar last night and even though Jimenez gave up the long ball, it came during a time when the struggling pitcher had improved his performance significantly. Showalter said that Jimenez had been pitching the best out of all of the Orioles’ pitchers, at that point in time.

The wild card game was nothing more than two fighters slugging it out, it just so happened that Toronto delivered the knockout punch. If there’s something to be upset about it should be the lack of offensive production from a team that led the majors in home runs this season.

As for Britton, he didn’t deserve to step on the mound until the Orioles had the lead going into the bottom of an inning.

Nonetheless, it was a good season for the Orioles and in the words of Buck Showalter, “I like our guys.”

Featured image: Photo credit: Dan Hamilton, USA TODAY

Hungry Minds serves meals with a side of disappointment


Gull Life Editor

Generally speaking, people are not okay with change. Even so, it’s safe to say that a lot of Salisbury University students, including myself, were more than ready to experience the brand new Academic Commons, and all of the benefits that came with it when it opened this fall.

Then Hungry Minds happened.

Hungry Minds Express is a restaurant in GAC that is the equivalent replacement of Gull’s Nest, which used to be located in GUC. In the four weeks that Hungry Minds has been open, it has been nothing short of a disappointment.

My first experience at Hungry Minds was met with confusion. The Gull’s Nest days were gone where you peered at the menu and then gave your order to an employee, who gave it to the cooks so you could go on your merry way with your order slip to the cashier.

In the Hungry Minds world, students create their order on a touch screen. When they push “complete order,” two receipts print out and students are expected to give one receipt to a cook, and the other to a cashier.

This wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t have to stand around awkwardly most of the time for a few minutes for a cook to be available to take your slip. Perhaps a simple order basket would help aid this confusing system.

Better yet, Hungry Minds could take a look at Wawa’s food ordering system. Customers order with a touch screen like Hungry Minds, but the orders go straight back to screens on the cooking side so that the cooks can see them right away instead of taking the time to wrangle up receipts.

The other bothersome thing about GAC’s eatery is the price tag. A plain cheesesteak with fries and drink combo at Hungry Minds comes to $12.72. A long cheesesteak from Gull’s Nest was $9.39, according to the menu still hanging up inside of the door.

I couldn’t locate how much a combo with fries and a drink was; however, fries alone cost $2.19, which still adds up to be more than a dollar less than the Hungry Minds price. This doesn’t even take into account the customization of food and adding of ingredients which Hungry Minds charges for. There was no evidence that Gull’s Nest did the same when it was still open.

The difference may not be astronomical, but it adds up quickly for college students.

The space itself is also an issue. The ordering area cannot support the capacity of the students that are always in there. In addition, there is significantly less seating than there was for Gull’s Nest which can be problematic for students who want a place to eat their food other than on the floor.

I realize this isn’t something that has an easy fix. No one has the power to magically expand the place. But perhaps a better set up, which could probably be attained by simply moving the huge chip rack from the middle of the room and moving or adding two more drink machines into the hallway where the microwave sits, would make a huge difference in the ordering and waiting process.

Some positives of Hungry Minds are the variety of different options on the menu. Patrons can choose from a long list of food items and then customize their order (for extra money, of course) which is more satisfying for consumers than picking from a shorter list like Gull’s Nest had. And let’s be real, the food in general is way above Gull’s Nest’s quality, which makes it worth the rather long waits, which of course could be due to the popularity of the establishment.

Areas they should work on from a student perspective would be to add a section in their menu about the specials. They are advertised on the screens and signs but they aren’t easily accessible—a student told me they had to design the special on their own. Perhaps there is already a tab that escaped my gaze, but I didn’t come across it in my look through the menu.

A suggestion box would also be a simple change that would make a huge difference to students with complaints. If one exists, it doesn’t stick out, which defeats the purpose of a suggestion box.

I want to stress that I don’t blame the workers at Hungry Minds—it’s evident they work hard to get food out in a timely manner and, from what I’ve seen, they get orders right most of the time. I’ve seen vast improvements since I first visited the establishment during the opening week of school. For instance, no one knew what set of numbers to call out at first but now the cashiers write it on the top of your receipt to avoid confusion on the part of the customer.

I also realize it may not be fair to compare it so heavily to Gull’s Nest, but as a student that has been a part of this campus for almost five semesters, it’s hard not to.

Despite my complaints, I’ll probably still frequent Hungry Minds because of its convenient location in the library. There are areas where Hungry Minds can improve, but this is true for every restaurant. I look forward to seeing how the establishment grows and changes in the coming weeks.



Presidential Debate Recap: Hillary – 1, Donald – 0

By Luke Wathen

Staff Writer

The night of Sept. 26 hosted an event that Americans have been anticipating for over a year: the first presidential debate of the 2016 election. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took the stage in their solemn glory for what many hoped to be a verbal bloodbath.

And a bloodbath it was. While both candidates took the stage with heads held high and an air of confidence about them, only Clinton left with her pride intact.

To understand what caused Trump to do so poorly in his first one-on-one presidential debate, it is important to look at his past performances.

During the GOP primary season, Trump made a habit of hounding his various opponents about their alleged weaknesses and shortcomings. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were notable targets, and both suffered a drop in support after Trump’s mockery.

Yet, whenever it came time to discuss actual policy proposals, Trump all but disappeared. After being so eager to lambast his fellow candidates, he would slip into silence and let his adversaries duke it out.

This strategy of making short but memorable outbursts made Trump excellent fodder for the 24-hour news cycle and world of entertainment. As a result, the other candidates lost out on publicity and their campaigns faltered until Trump was able to clench the nomination.

The strategy of condensing his campaign to short quips may have let Trump seize the Republican nomination, but it may prove his undoing in a general election. While Clinton seemed much more poised and articulate during the debate, Trump appeared visibly shaken and desperately tried to compensate for his past statements on issues ranging from global warming to racial relations.

That is not to say Clinton has not had her fair sure of issues as a candidate. The ongoing investigation regarding her use of a private email server, her role in the Benghazi attacks of 2012 and the leaked Democratic National Convention emails that paint her as a corrupt figure have no doubt shaken the nation’s confidence in her.

Even with a laundry list of controversies tied to her name, Trump did little to bring attention to them. Besides a few passing mentions of her private email server and her controversial tenure of Secretary of State, Trump was so busy covering his own tracks and denying the unconstitutionality of “stop and frisk” procedures that he failed to even see Clinton’s history of hypocrisy and unethical practices.

The debate is still fresh in the minds of the American people and the coming days should tell how this will impact the overall election. But for now, it seems that the once mighty Donald Trump has fallen and the presidency is ripe for the taking for Hillary Clinton.

Gull Jams Album Reviews: “Strange Diary” by Psychic Twin

By Drew Lacouture

Staff Writer

With the sub-genre of synth-pop becoming saturated and watered down, Psychic Twin bursts onto the scene with a bittersweet and lavish debut project. After several years of generating buzz, Erin Fein creates a balance of sugary choruses with just enough indie style to appeal to a wide audience.

Rather than bangers and big vocals, this group relies on subtle production to present a short but rewarding experience. Although, based on the intro “Heart Divided,” some listeners might instantly say dislike it because it sounds like every standard EDM album opener.

The staccato synth line in the next track “Strangers” instantly warms the ears for what is to come, and while the lyrics are repetitive, the line “That even when we build these mighty towers I know that we can take them down again,” will be stuck in heads for days.

The same can be said for most of the tracks here. Fein wrote this album amongst a break-up and it shows, but it is never too abrasive. The track that steals the show is “Hopeless” which resembles the style of the group Phantogram but better.  The killer outro “The Deepest Cut” evens dates back to New Order and it is fantastic.

All this is done without Fein and her musicians trying to sound edgy or indulgent (cough, cough, Halsey). As stated earlier, this album contains familiar sounds but the execution is so tightly performed and authentic that it almost feels like the listener is there in the studio.

Similar to artists in their soundscape like Pure Bathing Culture and Chairlift, it is clear that a significant amount of thought and care was put into developing the beats in these songs. Each small element of the song is pleasant and well placed, though it still has a couple of hiccups, especially towards the first half.

For example, “Running in the Dark” has the same bass line throughout the entire song. Adding a second measure of different notes after the first and then repeating two measures rather than one would have made for a more compelling instrumental.

This album is simple at its core with just nine tracks and thankfully it does not overstay its welcome. “Stop in Time” was exactly the length it needed to be but “Chase You,” as immersive as it is, might just be a little longwinded for some.

There will be some tracks that might breeze by like “Unlock Yr Heart,” which is why it is important to give the album multiple tries, not that it is heavy or complicated, just relaxing. Fein compliments this with her breathy singing, especially on the track called “Lose Myself.”

The dreamy world inside of Fein’s head might require multiple listens to really stick, but when it does, you will be playing it while cleaning the apartment or when you want something soothing to listen to after a bad day. This album is not perfect or innovative, but it accomplishes exactly what it is meant to.

Environmental and Native American issues collide at Standing Rock

By Val Petsche

Staff Writer

In the southern region of North Dakota, thousands of protestors, activists and regular human beings alike have gathered with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to protect sacred land from a major oil pipeline.

Ever since April, members of Standing Rock established camp along the Missouri river as a form of protest against the Dakota Access Oil company. Now, more than 3,000 people along with 300 other tribes stand in unison to demonstrate peaceful protests against the large corporation.

This $3.8 billion project, stretching 1,172 miles, crosses the Missouri River and would threaten the tribe’s source of drinking water as well as trespass onto ancient burial grounds. It is also where 570,000 barrels of crude oil would be transported from the Bakken formation to Illinois and Iowa every day.

For many environmentalists, an infrastructure project of this magnitude raises alarms as to the implications it may have on the surrounding ecosystem. For the Sioux, it endangers both their culture and way of life. After all, as the demonstrators say in a slogan that most have adopted, “water is life.”

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted Dakota Access permission to begin construction in July on the pipeline. Under this loophole known as Nationwide Permit 12, the company did not have to wait for pending environmental regulation or the permission of local tribes.

The Sioux at Standing Rock sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and sought a restraining order against the oil company, which U.S. Judge James Boasberg denied.

Shortly after, the Department of Justice, Army, and the Department of the Interior intervened, releasing a joint statement that ordered Dakota Access to halt construction until further review.

More recently, this past Labor Day protestors were on a routine march to join in prayer when construction workers began bulldozing a two mile tract of land nearby. The site was officially recognized as ancestral burial grounds only a day before, prompting demonstrators to erupt in anger and protest.

Amid opposition, tensions escalated further as security workers used attack dogs and mace on the demonstrators. Company workers eventually retreated from the scene and what may be referred to as a riot. Thirty people were reported affected by the pepper spray and several were bitten, including a child and one pregnant woman.

What occurred at Standing Rock that day is reminiscent of the abuse inflicted on African Americans during the civil rights movement. The company’s actions were extremely unwarranted, for those protesters were on Federal land within the confines of the Reservation, acting in non-violent protests.

Though future precedents are uncertain, the Federal government’s issuance provided a victory for the Sioux, whose interference can be seen as a significant historical moment in reform regarding consideration for Native American rights.

While it is hard to foretell how the extent of this event may unfold, it is clear what people are capable of when they unite for the common good. It is our duty as humans to protect this beautiful earth and the grounds which support our bodies. This is nothing new to Native Americans, whose way of life involves protecting Mother Nature.

Sadly, all too often opinion leaders fail to prioritize such issues that greatly affect the health of our earth, and cries for help go unnoticed. Only when we as a human race understand the impact of our actions may we see the possibility for a thriving, sustainable planet in the future.

How Far is Too Far


Staff Writer

With descriptive language, personification and the perspective from a six-year-old, the novel “Too Far” by Rich Shapero encompasses all three of those things. The novel had potential to be a great read but it fell short due to the confusing plot and the creepy fact that the children were discovering sexuality at such a young age.

If the novel Bridge to Terabithia had a fraternal twin or part two, this novel would be it. The storyline is very similar. The two children use the wilderness and their imaginations in order to escape their everyday reality.

The two children, Robbie and Fristeen, were six-years-old and about to enter the first grade once the summer ended. They both came from very different homes, but each home was falling apart. Fristeen’s mother was a drug addict. Robbie’s parents’ relationship was struggling and leading to a divorce. Robbie and Fristeen used their friendship, wild imaginations and the woods to escape their home troubles.

The novel’s format is simple as if it was written for a middle school audience, but the content is very adult as the characters explore their independence and sexuality.

Robbie challenged the authority of his parents, when he claimed since turning six and being more mature than his five year-old self he should have more freedom, like explore the vast woods.

The author made Robbie and Fristeen have sexual tension and feelings towards each other. They shared their first kiss, saw each other’s genitals, held hands and claimed it was okay because they were going to get married.

There were also many sexual references like when Robbie was counting Fristeen’s teeth he got distracted about how warm and smooth her mouth was. These references and descriptions made the novel very uncomfortable to read because the children were so young.

The perspective of the novel is through Robbie’s point of view and that is how the plot unfolds about the parents’ relationship and the impact it has on Robbie and Fristeen.

Their active imaginations are seen through the metaphors and personification of the woods. The use of the personification was interesting and made the book stand out from others, but it may have been too much. There came a point when the story didn’t make much sense and was hard to understand because these literary devices were being over used.

The ending was very poorly written. It was a huge disappointment especially as it was tied all together at the last two pages of the 244-paged novel. The ending didn’t make any logical sense, which is what ruined the reading experience.

The author made it seem like the children witnessed a murder in the woods as it describes a pool of red, a person they called the Dream Man bashing a head of a woman and spilling her brains as they interpreted as releasing her thoughts. It sounded like a murder, yet the author took it in a completely different direction at the end, which is why the ending made no sense. He also did not explain the importance of what the children witnessed either, leaving it all for the reader’s interpretation.

The novel could be a metaphor of life, death, sex and young love, but if so, Shapero failed miserably. This novel was an attempt at trying to be a literary masterpiece, but this novel should be used as a doorstop.

The novel is available on amazon, for only one cent, so any Salisbury University student can read it and give it a chance.

The Flyer gives “Too Far” a 3/10.

The Talented Mr. Ripley: A Rollercoaster of Emotions


Staff Writer

Some films, for better or worse, have no protagonist. There may be a main character or characters that serve as leads, but their actions are far from moral, relatable or heroic.

The Talented Mr. Ripley is one such movie and despite its lack of a protagonist, it excels on most every level.

Released in 1999 and set during the 1950s, the film follows the titular Tom Ripley, a charming young man who makes a meager living as a piano tuner and bathroom attendant in New York City. Fate strikes when he is given the chance to go to Italy in order to convince millionaire Herbert Greenleaf’s son to return home.

Once in Italy, Tom meets Greenleaf’s son Dickie and is instantly drawn in by his rich playboy lifestyle. As time goes by and Dickie tires of Tom, however, Tom takes desperate action to hold on to the debonair lifestyle to which he is now accustomed.

Despite its age, this movie definitely warrants revisiting. The main actors are all at their youthful peak and the plot stands the test of time with its simple, yet profound theme of man’s duality.

Matt Damon gives a powerhouse performance as Ripley, a man whose youthful charms gradually serve as a mask over a cold, sociopathic interior. Alongside him are Jude Law as trust fund baby Dickie Greenleaf, Gwyneth Paltrow as Dickie’s fiancé Marge Sherwood and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman as Freddie Miles, Dickie’s hedonistic best friend.

Law gives a stellar performance as a pampered socialite and Paltrow’s character is nothing short of sympathetic but the real standout amongst the supporting cast is Hoffman as Freddie Miles.

Throughout the film, Freddie parades himself down the streets of Italy, daintily flicking his wrist as he talks and viewing Tom Ripley with amused contempt, all the while drinking wine and indulging in the pleasures of the upper class. Though the character himself is nothing short of despicable, you cannot help but enjoy Hoffman’s delightfully over-the-top portrayal.

The film is an emotional thrill ride from start to finish. Initially feeling a sense of connection with Tom Ripley and his desires to escape his drab existence, the connection quickly turns to disdain as he uses and abuses all those around him in order to keep his lifestyle intact.

Yet through it all, a part of the viewer wants him to get away with his actions. Perhaps it is that initial view of Tom that the audience connects with, or perhaps it is just people’s investment in Matt Damon as an actor.

Either way, Damon presents Tom Ripley, consumed by passion, to shed his old life and adopt a grander one. Whether or not his actions are justified depends on the viewer, but Tom’s desire to stop being himself will resonate with many.

The movie is available on Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime for a small fee. Watch this movie alone—it is quite emotionally taxing and requires a good deal of concentration and contemplation.

After watching it, one may very well find themselves asking the same question asked on the film’s poster: How far would you go to become someone else?