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Thread: Catch Me If You Can

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2002

    Catch Me If You Can

    Steven Spielberg's entertaining chase comedy/drama features a couple of very fine performances by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks as a forger who travels the world and the FBI agent determined to haul him in. Based on the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr., it fits nicely into the Spielberg canon of films about splintered families; Abagnale's underlying motivations concern his determination to recover what the I.R.S. has taken from his tax-evading father and, in the process, repair his broken home. Though it's an interesting story, it's not an extremely fascinating one: once Spielberg and screenwriter Jeff Nathanson have set up the basic scams Abagnale operates, there's a lot of repetition over the first three-quarters of the film's 140 minutes (the action could have been pared a bit in the editing room) and it refreshes only in the final section, where Hanks overtly assumes the role of surrogate father to DiCaprio's needy child. After a couple of moody, personal science fiction films in "Artificial Intelligence: AI" and "Minority Report", Spielberg seems intent on losing himself in a wistfully retro action story—the film takes place in the Sixties but a Kennedy-era-innocent Sixties that seems cloistered from the events we've chosen to make iconic—but he's unable to let go of his dark side (he’s probably incapable of ever making an “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” again) and the film wallows in its unhappiness. But he's energized by the engrossing lead performances that dominate everything around them: as people consumed by the actions of escaping and capturing, DiCaprio and Hanks lock into each other and the relationship they form subtlety invites the viewer into their game; Spielberg wisely allows the actors to interpret the material directly and keeps the pressure off the audience by making everything clear and digestible. With Nathalie Baye, Martin Sheen and Christopher Walken, amusing and intelligent as Abagnale's father. The harsh sunlit cinematography is by Janusz Kaminski and the cleverly mod production design is by Jeannine Claudia Oppewall. John Williams’ unassuming, jazzy score is surprisingly good, considering the source.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Ottawa Canada
    I just saw "Catch Me". (literally-great way to spend Christmasday)

    While it didn't have me clutching at my armrests with heart-pounding chase scenes (what I was expecting), it did give me a smile on my face for most of the movie.

    I think Steven has made a film that is very good with good acting and a good story.
    A triumph for a thousand other directors, this film is merely solid entertainment from the reliable movie brat. And that's all we can ask from the guy.

    You could do much much worse. A quirky, fun night out. Leo personified charming, and I really enjoyed Martin Sheen hamming it up. (Those buck teeth were a riot!)
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Utah, USA

    No Wallowing Around

    Catch Me If You Can is a drama with humor. Instead of a comedy drama which has been in vogue for a number of years, this movie creates a new twist on the classic drama by incorporating lighter elements in its otherwise dramatic plot. I find the broken family theme much more compelling in this movie than some posters, particularly in how it doesn't follow the classic tidy American ending. The very essence of the imposter concept IS the central part of this movie which takes up most of the movie time which IS fascinating (especially when its tied to the character's past motivation). The relationship between Abagnale and the FBI agent, especially around Christmas, is well done. I hope the Spielberg doesn't go ET again, it would be a sign of retro-reversal not maturity, the sublime complexty of wisedom. And this movie doesn't wallow in its unhappiness, but offers hope and insight into the human condition. This movie is worthy of movie awards.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    I just saw Catch Me If You Can. I disagree that it could have used some cutting. I thought it was well paced and didn't lag.

    I really enjoyed it. Although I unfortunately broke Spielburg Movie Viewing Rule #1: Do not go to see the movie with a Film Snob. I made that mistake with Minority Report and vowed I wouldn't let it happen again. Oops.
    If I wanted to deconstruct Hollywood archetypes, I could do it myself, damnit.

    - Marina


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