The Washington Post concluded, "Damon, constantly flashing his newscaster's teeth and flaunting a fake, 'Masterpiece Theatre' dialect, comes across like someone who got lost on the way to an audition for a high school production of The Pirates of Penzance." In 2006, Damon joined Robert De Niro in The Good Shepherd as a career CIA officer, and played an undercover mobster working for the Massachusetts State Police in Martin Scorsese's The Departed, a remake of the Hong Kong police thriller Infernal Affairs.
Assessing his work in the two films, Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote that Damon has the unique "ability to recede into a film while also being fully present, a recessed intensity, that distinguishes how he holds the screen." in which his Golden Globe-nominated work was described by Entertainment Weekly as such: "The star – who has quietly and steadily turned into a great Everyman actor – is in nimble control as he reveals his character's deep crazies." Also in 2009, Damon portrayed South Africa national rugby union team captain François Pienaar in the Clint Eastwood-directed film Invictus, which is based on the 2008 John Carlin book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation and features Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela.
Born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Damon began his acting career by appearing in high school theater productions.
Damon supports the ONE Campaign, which is aimed at fighting AIDS and poverty in Third World countries.
He has appeared in their print and television advertising.
He continued to garner praise from critics for his roles as the eponymous character in Saving Private Ryan (1998), the antihero in The Talented Mr.
Ripley (1999), a fallen angel in Dogma (1999), an energy analyst in Syriana (2005), and a corrupt Irish-American police officer in The Departed (2006).