Catch Me If You Can (2002)
A fascinating story, directed with a fine balance of comedy and dramatic potency by Steven Spielberg. Through Leonardo DiCaprio's enticing presence, Spielberg gives us his rendition of the life of recent times' top American con artist, Frank Abagnale, Jr, and he does it in a joyful, carefree fashion, venturing a real charm offensive. Abagnale's life is presented as a roller-coaster ride, the world he lives in as a warm, naïve and sadly bygone beehive of smiling people waiting to be tricked. Catch Me If You Can thus functions as 60s nostalgia and Frank Abagnale worship combined. But it is a remarkably stylish account of nostalgia and worship - making it one of the classiest films Spielberg has directed in a long time. His quirky, humorous tone gives the film air beneath its wings, and DiCaprio is the perfect protagonist for the atmosphere Spielberg creates. His knack for being charismatic and witty without ever compromising the weight of the character makes Catch Me If You Can a layered and inherently entertaining, if rather gentle film. And what a delight to see Spielberg emancipated from his often dominating morality calling. Tom Hanks is a fine counterweight, whereas Christopher Walken gives his best performance for quite some time.