Retro Review: Catch Me if You Can

Leonardo DiCaprio brushes off the bumps and bruises he endured in “Gangs of New York” and tries to outrun, outwit and outplay a persistent Tom Hanks in the true-life caper film, “Catch Me if You Can”.

Leo plays Frank Abagnale Jr., a successful con artist who posed as an airline pilot, doctor, assistant attorney general and history professor and cashed more than $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in 26 countries all while FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) was hot on his trail. The amazing part is that Abagnale did all this before the age of 20.

Leo is at the top of his game. I remember when I first recognized Leo for his raw talent in the critically acclaimed “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” I did remember him during his recurring television role on the 80s hit sitcom, “Growing Pains” However it isn’t often that we find an actor so young who can blow a good actor like Johnny Depp right off the screen. Leo’s second coming this winter is amazing in both “Catch Me” and “Gangs”. I really liked seeing him two entirely different roles which really shows this guy’s range as an actor.

Leonardo DiCaprio & Amy Adams
Leonardo DiCaprio & Amy Adams

“Catch Me if You Can” really reawakens my fascination with Spielberg. After “AI” and “Minority Report” I was feeling disenchanted with the man but “Catch Me” seems to be a return to old Spielberg-fare. There are a lot of elements from his long history within “Catch Me”. I really loved how Spielberg seemed to let his actors go for it especially when it came to Leo.

I also really liked Tom Hanks in this film even though his role much more low key opposed to Leo’s colorful rebellion. Tom is the perfect flipside to Leo and it makes for a great contrast. Kind of like Tommy Lee Jones and Harrison Ford in The Fugitive.

Another scene-stealing performance came from Amy Adams, who is absolutely delightful as Leo’s love interest in the film. Her innocence, flair for comedy and raw energy keeps Leo on his toes in every one of their scenes. She is amazing!

What I really enjoyed about the film was that it wasn’t your typical con-artist and ensuing cop drama. There is a lot of humor as well as showing how Abagnale got away with his various crimes. The film explains a lot without being bogged down in horrendous scenes of dialogue. I also found that the ending isn’t like any other con-artist film before it. I was great to see an ending that surprised me. There have been so many films that have endings spoiled by trailers or the screenwriters give up in the third act. This third act pays off, in spades.

“Catch Me if You Can” is one of the best films of the year because it is everything you want in a movie when you stand in line for your ticket. Nobody gave up when this movie was put together. It is just a pure delight and I loved it.

5 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer.

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