Catch Me If You Can
(Click here for Internet Movie Database entry)

     This is a very fun movie.  It provides the best role in a long time for Leonardo DiCaprio, much better than Gangs of New YorkHe has shown in the past (Romeo + JulietWhat's Eating Gilbert Grape) that he can act.  So, put him together with my favorite actor, Tom Hanks, some snappy directing by Steven Spielberg, a nice turn by Christopher Walken, a fun script and presto, Catch Me If You Can is a great movie!  This is the true story of Frank Abagnale (DiCaprio) who, at the age of 16, left his home and parents (Walken + Nathalie Baye), and started scamming so successfully that he impersonated an airline pilot, a doctor and a district attorney, all without any training.  At the same time, he passed millions of dollars in bad cheques and seduced a few babes. The bad cheques attracted the attention of the FBI and, in particular, one agent, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks).  Hanratty became obsessed with catching Abagnale. 

     Like I said, this is a fun movie. The fun starts with the opening credits which are animated.  The style of the credits and the whole movie is reminiscient of the late 60's and early 70's when the story of Catch Me If You Can took place.  As we say, it was a simpler time, and the story of Catch Me If You Can is told simply and straightforwardly.  Hanks and DiCaprio have a good chemistry together, portraying these two adversaries who become friends.  I can't say enough about Tom Hanks.  He has no vanity.  He vanishes into roles such as this and other recent movies (Road to Perdition and Cast Away) without worrying how he appears on screen.  Hanks completely disappears into this role of the geeky but relentless FBI agent.  As I said above, DiCaprio really has a role that he can relax into.  He plays the part with the right mix of chutzpah and vulnerability.  Walken is his usual weird but entertaining self as the older and sadder father of young Abagnale.  Martin Sheen and James Brolin, who recently ran against each other for President on The West Wing, both appear in cameos.

     Spielberg really keeps the story moving along, portraying the constant motion of the chase as DiCaprio stays one step ahead of Hanks. And there's even a happy ending.  This is very satisfying since both of the leads are very likeable and you want everything to work out.  This is definitely the feel-good movie of the new year!