Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Catch Me if You Can

The true story of a real fake.
2002 - Dir: Stephen Spielberg
Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 27th January, 2007
Has it come to this? The director of “Star Wars”, “Close Encounters” and “Schindler’s List” is reduced to a light comedy about a con-man... And the con-man is played by one of Hollywood’s pretty boy clothes horses! True! But cast your doubts aside! Stephen Spielberg shows he’s a real pro as he injects the vital spark of life into something that could have been just plain dull. Leonard DiCaprio, despite having no formal acting training reveals himself as an accomplished thesp as Spielberg pushes him into characterisations he could never have dreamed up for himself. It’s all tied together by a solidly inspired performance by the consistently reliable Tom Hanks. For the record there really was a Frank Abagnale Jnr and he’s out of jail and is now a multi-millionaire through his fully legal fraud detection and avoidance consulting business - that’s him on the left. But who cares about real life...except that, if the story was pure fiction, we probably wouldn’t believe it!
“Catch Me If You Can” oozes with craft and style. The opening titles alone are riveting. John Williams’ jazz score is surprisingly nimble and exciting, perhaps the best work we have heard from him in years. The film’s recreation of the ‘60’s is intoxicating, from costumes to settings, cars and dialogue. And Spielberg always makes this simple story visually enticing, whether through his subtle use of lighting and camera angles to his more obvious stylistic choices involving reflections, editing and energetic camera movements.
· Leonardo DiCaprio was born Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio. Martin Sheen began life as Gerard Antonio Estevez. Christopher Walken’s real first name is Ron and Tom Hanks was originally known as... Tom Hanks.
· When Stephen Spielberg was a child, he sneaked onto the lot of Universal Studios during a tour and befriended a film editor who showed him a few things about filmmaking. Tonight’s projectionist is a film editor. Budding Spielbergs may feel free to befriend him and ply him with beer in the interests of their future careers.

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