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Catch This If You Can
A review of Catch Me If You Can
by J. D. Rummel

>A while back, backlash resulting from the Vesuvian success of Titanic made a lot of us forget something.

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Leonardo Dicaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, Jennifer Garner, Amy Adams, Nathalie Baye

Rating: PG-13

Release: 12-25-2002

Time: 140 minutes

Buy Movie at Leonardo DeCaprio can act.

His latest film, Catch Me If You Can should remind everyone of that fact in spades. In this film, based on the book of the same name, Leo plays Frank Abagnale Jr. a very capable young man who, traumatized by the divorce of his parents, drops out of high school in 1963 and becomes a globe trotting, check kiting imposter of biblical proportions. At seventeen Abagnale impersonates a high school French teacher, an airline pilot, a doctor and a lawyer, all the while cashing millions of dollars worth of forged checks.

The film focuses on Abagnale's crime wave and decodes it as a quest for stability and family. It is a well-crafted script with only one obvious hole (if the feds know he has a girl from the hospital they must know who she is. It would be easy to find her and consequently him.) Disregarding this bump, Steven Spielberg's direction and storytelling are masterful and he smoothly relates the tale with superbly realized shots. This film is not an epic, quite the opposite in fact and one gets the feeling that Spielberg is like a powerful racing engine. He gives the film just enough throttle to easily win the race. It is like asking Frank Loyd Wright to design your tool shed. He brings a power and brilliance to it so that you sit there in awe and say, Damn! What a tool shed!

There is so much here to see and enjoy. The performances of DeCaprio, Tom Hanks, and Christopher Walken are all brilliant. DeCaprio is infectiously likable as the teen con man. The viewer has no doubt he could pull off the quick-witted scams of the real Abagnale. Tom Hanks as the methodical FBI agent who finally runs him to ground is wonderfully submerged in his low-key, under funded persona. And Walken, as Frank Abagnale senior, almost steals the show as the father whose criminal tendencies, persecution complex, and success-at-almost-any-cost mentality clearly plant the seeds for Frank Jr's bunko spree.

See this film, it's a good way to start the new year.