Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Catch Me If You Can (2003)
12

After the philosophical constipation of "A.I." and pseudo-seriousness of "Minority Report", Steven Spielberg rediscovers his sense of fun with this funny, frivolous con caper.

He also revives the irony that's lain dormant since his Indiana Jones days, revelling in his most throwaway, endearing entertainment since 1989's "The Last Crusade".

"Catch" is a light, fizzy confection - from the sprightly animated credits to John Williams' enjoyable, Henry Mancini-esque jazz score (his best work in years).

Leonardo DiCaprio is a perfect fit for the role of callow, charismatic grifter Frank Abagnale Jr - a real-life con artist who made the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list before his 21st birthday.

He's utterly convincing as a precocious liar, using dud cheques to bounce around 60s America, trailed by Tom Hanks' dutiful G-man.

Whether DiCaprio's teen trickster is impersonating an airline co-pilot to blag flights or a secret service agent to avoid capture, "Catch" really sings when the con is on.

The star's charm, Spielberg's slick visuals, and a couple of well-placed swing hits (including Frank Sinatra crooning "Come Fly With Me") combine in seductive sequences that evoke Rat Pack cool and the Newman/Redford spark of "The Sting".

Away from the glorious glee of getting away with it, "Catch" struggles with the typically Spielbergian surrogate father angle stressed between Hanks and his quarry. Ditch the faux-therapy and the movie would be shorter, and better - saved from its somewhat listless denouement.

But not every stab at sentiment fails. Christopher Walken gives an electrifying performance as Abagnale's pitiable dad, while Amy Adams is touching as his naïve fiancée.

Ultimately, "Catch" is as hollow as its hero, but that's the point. The form matches the subject matter in a movie that burns brightly and then quickly fades away. Which just means you need to watch it again. Enjoy.

End Credits

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Jeff Nathanson

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

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama, Thriller

Length: 141 minutes

Cinema: 31 January 2003

Country: USA

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