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Review: Catch it if you can

THE TITLE sequence of Catch Me If You Can is a film within a film, which really makes it worth getting to the cinema on time. The introduction to the movie, produced using a print animation technique reminiscent of classic 1960s films and set to music that evokes the same period, succeeds in transporting the viewer back in time. This innovative sequence is a bit like a trailer; it gives a synopsis of the film's plot, albeit in stylised silhouettes.


HANKS and DiCaprio play a cat-and-mouse game.
photo: Courtesy of Tatrafilm

Catch Me If You Can

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Running time: 135 min
Rating: 7 out of 10

THE TITLE sequence of Catch Me If You Can is a film within a film, which really makes it worth getting to the cinema on time. The introduction to the movie, produced using a print animation technique reminiscent of classic 1960s films and set to music that evokes the same period, succeeds in transporting the viewer back in time. This innovative sequence is a bit like a trailer; it gives a synopsis of the film's plot, albeit in stylised silhouettes.

In this film, which is based on a true story, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale, Jr, a young man who drops out of school and poses as a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer in order to get cash. A master of deception and a very skilled forger, he soon becomes a millionaire and has the FBI on his trail trying to figure out his identity. The task proves difficult for them, not least because he is a minor and therefore has no criminal record.

But when FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) gets on the case, a cat-and-mouse game ensues, eventually bringing Frank's glorious career to an end. But this film, in keeping with the time-honoured formula of its director, Steven Spielberg, comes complete with a happy ending and a few moral tales along the way, all the while telling the story of a son's search for a father figure.

The production designer and costume designer did a wonderful job on DiCaprio's wardrobe, using hip designer clothes that make him look like a teenage James Bond driving around in a white Cadillac. Hanks shares the limelight with DiCaprio but doesn't steal the show, partly because it is the latter who is the heartthrob and partly because Hanks, as a dull FBI agent, only wears a black suit with a white shirt throughout.

In Catch Me If You Can, there are as many stars behind the camera as there are in front. The movie's director of photography is Janusz Kaminski, who previously worked with Spielberg on Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List (both earning Kaminski Academy Awards). Another member of the dream team is John Williams, a veteran Hollywood composer who entered the movie hall of fame by scoring music for films like Star Wars and E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial.

The real Frank W. Abagnale, Jr worked as a consultant on the film, which is based on his 1980 eponymous memoir, and he also plays a small walk-on role. While the movie tells the story of his past, text scrolling up at the end informs you about what happened to him next. That's when you get the happy ending.

It remains to be seen how many Oscars the Spielberg crew will harvest this year. The film has been nominated for just two statuettes: in the best-music category and for best actor in a supporting role - for Christopher Walken who plays Frank's father.

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