Matt Damon has developed a career working with some of the top directors in the industry, from touching dramas to frightening thrillers. He’s played a variety of parts in films ranging from franchise to auteur.
Damon impresses as an exiled angel in this Kevin Smith comedy. The criticism of current America in the Pelispedia film is both amusing and enlightening.
1. Good Will Hunting
Despite the movie’s erratic and uneven script, Damon is excellent as a calculating mastermind who steals a billion-dollar secret from a rival corporation. He’s supported by a strong cast that includes Robin Williams, Kieran Culkin, and Alison Janney.
While many of the movies on this list were made by top-tier directors, Damon arguably delivered his best work here. The plot revolves around a reclusive computer genius who is tasked with solving a mathematical formula that could unlock the universe’s secrets. It’s a sci-fi epic that’s both beautiful and thought-provoking.
As with his work in the Bourne franchise, Damon proves that he can excel when working with an ensemble. In this heist movie, he plays the brains behind the operation alongside George Clooney and a large group of skilled criminals. Most critics praised the cast, with some noting that it lacked the thrill of the original Ocean’s Eleven.
2. The Monuments Men
One of those was Syriana, in which he played Bryan Woodman, an energy analyst who’s hired by a terrorist group to steal oil-rich Libyan assets. The movie’s ambitions and ideas, plus its Oscar win for its screenplay, have made it a popular pick among fans of the actor.
Another of the films that marked this period of his career was Contagion, a thriller about a man just trying to survive in a pandemic-ridden world. The movie was a minor hit when it first came out in 2011, but the story took on new resonance when the global COVID-19 pandemic kicked into high gear a few years later. It’s a tense and well-made movie, and it features another terrific performance from Damon as Mitch Emhoff, the man trying to keep his family alive in this terrifying dystopia.
3. The Martian
Damon has done a lot of work with director Paul Greengrass over the years, but The Bourne Ultimatum was probably his most memorable work in this franchise. The film was a perfect ending to the first trilogy, and it allowed Damon to really get into his character and show how ruthless he can be. It also helped to have a believable supporting cast that included Jeremy Renner and Joan Allen, which made the action scenes even more intense.
Another thriller that doesn’t do as well as it should, Contagion is a serious movie that tackles the dangers of pandemics and the impact they can have on the world around us. It features a fantastic core cast, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law, but it’s Damon that makes the movie for me. He plays the part of a man with a mysterious ability to communicate with the dead, and he sells it perfectly with his hushed anguish.
Hereafter is an oddball entry, but it’s still a great drama about the afterlife. It’s a bit too touchy-feely for some, but it has a great central performance from Damon as George Carrouges, a reclusive computer genius who can help people communicate with their deceased loved ones.
4. The Departed
Matt Damon was starting to become a major star by the time this movie hit the theaters, but his talent is on full display in this sci-fi classic. In the distant future, astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars after a brutal dust storm ravages the spacecraft and leaves him behind. While most assume he’s dead, Watney uses his considerable knowledge and quick thinking to survive and work with a group of experts from earth to bring him home.
This is the first of many collaborations between Matt Damon and Steven Soderbergh on this list, and it’s a fantastic caper that is incredibly fun to watch. He and George Clooney play the opposite sides of the law in this heist movie that features an incredible ensemble cast.
Soderbergh has proven that he’s a master at crafting large ensemble flicks and this is no exception. This film features an all-star lineup of Hollywood heavy hitters as they try to pull off a complex casino heist.