Monday, December 30, 2002

Catch Me If You Can (IMDB) (Netflix)
Based on the true story of a hall-of-fame paper hanger and trickster Frank Abagnale, who kited millions of dollars in checks around the world in the 60s, courtesy of Pan American Airways. Leonardo DiCaprio has the lead, and Tom Hanks is the obsessive, humorless G-man just one step behind the con game curve.

This has more substance than the breezy romp it's positioned to be, maybe by being mostly true, and because Christopher Walken resonates as Abagnale's down-on-his-luck dad who is the oak tree to Leo's more successful acorn. DiCaprio is fine, but as with Gangs of New York, someone else–Hanks this time–has the more interesting role and exploits it most effectively, combining his rubber face, jerky body language, a Boston accent and heavy black glasses to great effect, carrying the comic relief load while typifying the narrow dedication of the ideal civil servant. Great post-holiday fare.