*** Official "CATCH ME IF YOU CAN" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Seth Paxton, Dec 19, 2002.

  1. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 1998
    Messages:
    7,585
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The official thread isn't up yet but the only other thread is really a discussion thread.
    Here is a copy of what I posted in the 2002 Movies thread.
    As always, no spoilers, just general impressions.
    Catch Me If You Can
    8.5 of 10
    The good news is this is a fun, feel good movie with some nice moments. Hanks is fine, though at times under utilized, and DeCaprio and Walken both put in outstanding efforts.
    The bad news is this is a story that could have been an Oscar level film yet isn't. The film itself hits on those moments from time to time, but in the end Spielberg somehow seems confused in which direction he wants to go with the film. The result is mixed messages to the audience in regards to the pacing and expectations for the characters. We end up with several false endings that clearly seem unlikely to be the end based on the opening moments of the film, but emotionally and thematically do feel like good stopping points. I think this also had a side-effect of making the film seem to drag for some audience members, which often is the result of such confused narrative direction.
    And that is the fault of the story structure/direction/script, or all 3. It's too bad, because this could have been the same feel-good, but done with Oscar caliber quality. The story is that interesting and the acting by Walken and DeCaprio was up to the challenge as well. It was most odd to see Speilberg miss in such a manner, usually his strength. He has a stand-up double this time, but it should have been a homerun.
    BTW, some of the finest opening credits you will see for a film. Also a very solid score which was often impressive.
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    33,050
    Likes Received:
    8,101
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Catch Me If You Can". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.
    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!
    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.
    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 1999
    Messages:
    1,099
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This is the film my family and I chose for our traditional Christmas Day movie. We thought it was a great choice! The four of us (wife, son, sister-in-law and me) had a terrific time with an interesting story, lots of fun, and a kicky jazz score by John Williams. We all left the theater with smiles on our faces. Just go see it. 4 out of 5 stars.
     
  4. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 1998
    Messages:
    787
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Nothing groundbreaking, but a solid piece of entertainment. I was skeptical Spielberg would be able to sustain audience interest for two hours for what's essentially a chase movie with an ending we already know. But, the solid script, acting & pacing make it a fun movie. I didn't think there were any real surprises & the story is rather conventional. But, it's well done & is pretty entertaining. It makes for a perfect family movie.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]1/2 [out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]]
     
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,779
    Likes Received:
    492
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    I was sort of bored by the structure of the film, even though it does a good job of recreating the 1960's, a time where a lot of this was indeed possible, but nowadays, it it wouldn't make for as entertaining story.

    I think the problem with the film is that the characters seem much more 2-dimensional than they should. But the acting is good overall with both Dicaprio and Hanks doing a good job with the material they are given.

    Also, I wasn't all that crazy about the blown-out back lighting of a lot of the scenes in the film. I know it was a stylistic choice, but it didn't really serve the story for me.

    I also think the film is too long (140 minutes is too long for the subject matter of the film, I think 20-30 minutes could've been trimmed while retaining the resolution of the film).

    I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.
     
  6. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 1999
    Messages:
    8,103
    Likes Received:
    364
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Monroe, LA
    Real Name:
    Tim Glover
    Saw this tonight. Rate it [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Very good film.
     
  7. Jeff Graebner

    Jeff Graebner Auditioning

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    "Catch Me If You Can" is a major departure from Steven Spielberg's recent string of dark, generally serious films, instead being one of the lightest and funniest films of his career. The result is a considerably entertaining, fast-paced film with some outstanding performances.

    The story of Frank Abagnale, Jr. and his teenage forgery and check-fraud spree in the late 1960s is one of those that is so outrageous that it probably wouldn't be believable on film if it weren't true. Spielberg and screenwriter Jeff Nathanson find the right tone and presentation for the film, though, such that I was never quite pushed past the point of believing that Abagnale really was able to accomplish these things.

    After a long sequence of films that were essentially dealing with big, real-world ideas ("Schindler's List", "Saving Private Ryan", "Amistad") or were special effects spectaculars (the "Jurassic Park" films, "Minority Report", "A.I."), it is a major change of pace for Spielberg to be taking on a fairly small, character-oriented film. In some ways, his past film that this most resembles is "Sugarland Express", his very first theatrical movie. While the film is very light and entertaining, there is also a serious side as it essentially is depicting the naivety of the more innocent, trusting times that many people still look back upon fondly.

    The lead role in this film plays to Leonardo DeCaprio's biggest strengths as an actor, mainly his natural charm and youthful enthusiasm. He is one of those actors that is most effective when he is correctly cast and well directed and, in this film, he gives one of his best performances to date. As he portrays him, Frank is a very smart, extremely quick-thinking character who also never quite seems to fully comprehend the reality of what he is doing. It is an interesting, well-played characterization.

    In a rare supporting performance, Tom Hanks finds exactly the right note for his role as Carl Hanratty, the FBI agent pursuing Abagnale. While the basic outline of the role is essentially another variation of Javert from "Les Miserables", Hanks brings a fair amount of depth and complexity. Hanratty is working in a department that his fellow agents view as essentially the place you go when you are out-of-favor, yet Hanks depicts him as someone who is clearly there by choice and taking the work very seriously. He shows an unwavering determination to catch Abagnale, but always shows a lot of compassion for him as well, eventually building into more of a disciplanary father-figure instead of a pursuer.

    There are a lot of shades of grey in both Frank and Karl, making for a film that does not have a clear-cut protagonist/antagonist relationship. Spielberg and Nathanson wisely tell everything from their point-of-view (one or the other of them is in essentially every scene), effectively switching who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist based on the point-of-view. The film allows the audience to sympathize with both characters, hoping for a resolution that allows both to triumph.

    Christopher Walken is teriffic in a supporting role as Frank Abagnale, Sr. While Walken is exceptionally good at playing over-the-top villains and psychopaths, it is sometimes easy to forget what a strong and effective actor he really is. In this film, he brings a lot to a basically down-to-Earth character who means well, but for whom life simply doesn't go his way. The father and son relationship dominates much of the motivation for the events of the film, with Frank, Sr. never quite discouraging his son's crimes, but instead kind of relishing him living the life the father had wanted. It also adds depth to the relationship with Karl, as the FBI agent starts to fulfill some of the more traditional fatherly roles.

    The technical roles on this film have generally gone to most of the usual suspects for a Steven Spielberg film. This is his 7th consecutive film in collaboration with cinematographer Janusz Kaminsky, who shot the film somewhat darker and with more shadows than you might expect for this style of movie. It generally looks right for the film, though, with the lighting often echoing the mood of the scene. The production design and costuming very effectively capture the period, in some ways making the film itself almost look like films of that era. A few rare obscenities in the dialog almost seem out of place with the film's more old-fashioned feel, although one does generate a pretty effective laugh (that pays off again later as well).

    The film's tight focus on the points-of-view of its two main characters helps to keep the film properly paced. Even though the running time is nearly 2 1/2 hours, it doesn't feel long or drawn out. I have seen some complaints that the film goes on past a couple spots that seem like they could have been natural endings, but I think this was necessary to fully complete the character arcs. Without going into spoilers, the final scene of the film establishes a key choice that was absolutely necessary to complete the story.

    This film is Steven Spielberg's 19th theatrical release to feature a score by John Williams. This score reverts back to Williams' early jazz background, with lots of saxophone solos and piano riffs. It fits the style of the film absolutely perfectly. Several well-selected period songs are also well used on the film's soundtrack.

    While "Catch Me If You Can" may not be as bold or important as some of Steven Spielberg's other recent films, it is a very intelligent, thoughtful character-study filled with well-earned humor. It is a tremendously entertaining and worthwhile film.

    -Jeff
     
  8. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    8,189
    Likes Received:
    411
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Real Name:
    Chuck Mayer
    Interestingly enough, I consider this film a triumph of Spielberg's career. I am going to give this film a perfect score, my third of the year (including Black Hawk Down). I have no qualms about it. I felt it was a perfectly balanced film. There are multiple sides to it, but like most great films, it works through them effortlessly, always succeeding at it's current task.
    The directing is top-notch, as expected. A radical departure from previous Spielberg/Kaminiski lensings, it looks wonderful. Scene composition and narrative structure are flawless. It looks like a wonderful time to live. You can almost see the optimism flowing through the camera.
    Casting: My favorite. Major supporting roles are very well-balanced, with each actor giving a great performance. The next tier down are exceptional as well. The major lead is incredible. The above-mentioned balancing act rests almost solely on Leo's ability, and he nails it. As Jeff said above me, the role plays to Leo's strengths of youth and charm, but he really works it when he's the lost boy yearning for his perfect family again. Oscar-worthy in my opinion, and an interesting counterpoint to GoNY.
    Tone: It is not a deep, dark serious film. So, in compariosn to "important" or "noteworthy" Oscar films, it seems light in comparison. But it does work on multiple levels. It does convey what drives Frank Jr, and it makes it poignant. When it's light and fun, it's a lot of fun. I can always count on a few strong laughs from ANY Spielberg film. He understands that people are funny, and I laughed more in CMIYC than I do in 99.99% of comedies I am subjected to. This almost carefree charm is hard to accomplish.
    The overall effect felt like a complete film. Simple, direct, fun, sad, and honest. There are films I liked more this year that I rated lower. But CMIYC does everything it sets out to do, with charm, style, and grace. What a great year for Senor Spielbergo [​IMG]
    10/10
    Take care,
    Chuck
     
  9. DaveBB

    DaveBB Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 24, 1999
    Messages:
    788
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    "Catch Me If You Can" Good lightweight film that I could easily recommend. Nothing great or stirring but would give it a 7.5 or 8 out of 10. Good score from John Williams who finnaly chooses not to blow the viewer out of the water.
     
  10. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2000
    Messages:
    3,971
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'll chime in with a non-critical review - I found a lot to love about Catch Me If You Can. I had picked up the book earlier before knowing there was going to be a filmed adaptation, so I was very curious how this would appear on screen. The book is fascinating and written in a breezy, lighthearted way that makes it fly by. Stuffed with good pacing, educational sections on how to be a forger, and very vivid characterizations, I found the book one of the most fun reads I've had in a very long time.
    I have to say that I enjoyed the film quite a great deal, but not how I expected. I credit this to the screenplay and the talent for this enjoyment. Going in, I was expecting to see a most of my favorite capers with a narrative device used to describe the crimes, but instead there was a lot of character and motivation placed on the screen, moreso than I would have credited to the book. The relationship between Frank and his dad was excellently written with some incredibly moving exchanges as Frank watches his dad spin down a well of financial ruin.
    All involved do an excellent job. I never found the cinematography, provided by Janusz (a longtime Spielberg collaborator) to be fresh and appropriate, giving the most to the mod architecture and bright colors of the time. That the film avoids wallowing in the dark, but instead basking in the light was a nice parallel with how Frank approaches life (and his work).
    There are a number of memorable scenes and I credit Hanks and DiCaprio for them. Their first confrontation is wonderful, and plays the scene for everything it's worth. Hanks works well in every scene, although I had trouble losing him completely. However, DiCaprio got into the role a great deal and was well cast as the suave con I remembered from the novel.You can see how easily he passes from underage kid to 30 something pilot almost entirely by demeanor.
    I've heard complaints about pacing, but if anything, I wanted a bit more. There are a wealth of great situations (especially the arrest to jumping bail to bank robbery) that I would have loved to see on screen, but what is there serves the story well.
    This film sets well next to Ocean's 11, another fun and light film from a remarkably talented cast that shows what can happen when they let themselves have some fun. A great film that I would happily recommend to anyone. To place a star recommendation, I would give it [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]/[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  11. rich_d

    rich_d Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2001
    Messages:
    2,024
    Likes Received:
    50
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Real Name:
    Rich
    I also am very impressed with the movie score. It has a nice late 50's, early 60's feel to it. I've listened to the score a few times on disc and would point to it for anyone that thinks John Williams can only do 'big.'

    I would Seth, the opening credits are truly outstanding.
     
  12. todd stone

    todd stone Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2000
    Messages:
    1,760
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I enjoyed this movie, I just got back from seeing it.
    De Caprio is a good actor I don't care what anyone else says. Hanks was good as usual but this was more a De Caprio flick.
    It got a little too serious at the end too quick, but it was a good movie overall.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  13. todbnla

    todbnla Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 1999
    Messages:
    1,514
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    39466
    Real Name:
    Todd
    Saw this tonite with my 14 year old daughter. The Mega Theater we saw it in was packed. Really like the movie, very entertaining, crowd clapped at the end, really.
    Maybe it was the Nawlins connection to the movie? [​IMG]
    3 out of 4 stars [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

Share This Page