ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  steven spielberg

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  dramatic comedy

LENGTH  -  113 minutes

RELEASED  -  25 december 2002

DISTRIBUTOR  -  dreamworks pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  catch them

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $52,000,000
catch me if you can - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from catch me if you can at

buy the dvd from catch me if you can at

about a 17 year old con artist who manages to pass himself off as several identities with an fbi agent hot on his trail.

the names on the forged diploma from harvard medical school actually contains the signatures of the then deans of both harvard medical school and harvard school of dental medicine.


picture from catch me if you can

picture from catch me if you can

picture from catch me if you can


three out of four possible stars

Catch Me If You Can is a tad too long, but because this seems to be the film's only real fault, the film's length isn't something that completely dooms the picture. In fact, it's really only a minor annoyance in the scheme of things and, as a problem, is lessened even more by the enjoyable performances by Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio. More than anything, this picture is a fun and faced paced crime caper that really resembles something Frank Sinatra might have starred in with his Rat Pack friends back in the 1960's.

Steven Spielberg and his crew apparently filmed this picture and edited it together at lightening speed, considering filming wasn't completed until May of 2002 and the release date was a short few months away in December of 2002. Feature films are usually kept on the cutting table for around a year before their release, and many times are kept for longer than that. The short camera to screen time of Catch Me If You Can doesn't seem to have hurt the picture at all though because it's certainly an enjoyable experience in the theater. And the long running time is only apparent a few minutes before the closing credits, and by that time, it's too late to care anyway as audience members will have invariably learned to love the characters.

Speaking of which, the casting of Hanks and DiCaprio was a good move and although they don't appear on screen but for about a fourth of the movie, they still make an excellent pair. As an on screen duo, the two step into their roles with what looks like much ease, but that point is probably where the two should be complimented. Though he's already one a few shiny trophies for his performances in the past, Hanks probably won't get the recognition he should for this role, because he just makes it look too easy. DiCaprio also looks like he had way too much fun making this picture, and so as a consequence, his fine performance might blend in with the rest of the scenery.

One might compare Leonardo DiCaprio to Cary Grant in that regard, given that Grant was also a terrific actor who never seemed to get the awards he deserved. And although critics have already recognized DiCaprio for his roles in the past, he is still thought of as more of a pretty face than a studious actor. In another flawless performance, playing DiCaprio's father, Christopher Walken proves again that he deserves to have his name atop the movie poster with his costars' names, and is a strong force in every scene he's in. In fact, his performance is much more emotional than angry (he often plays angry characters) and seeing him show a more delicate side of his personality is a welcome change. Walken shows that his unique diction isn't the only interesting thing about him.

In addition to the entertaining performances, the set direction and soundtrack work together rather well to complete the look and feel of America in the 1960's. The furniture, clothing, and music were so unique from that era that representations of it on screen don't always ring true. But with a sprinkling of Sinatra tunes and more than a few pieces of rounded futuristic furniture, the era comes to life vividly by composer John Williams and production designer Jeannine Claudia Oppewall. And with a unique slant on the cinematography by director of photography, Janusz Kaminski, there looks to have been a lot of effort placed on every single aspect of the film.

That it is an enjoyable film and also a well-made film is something which will please both audiences and critics. Many times audience favorites are snubbed by critics for being too "mainstream," and critical favorites sometimes go overlooked by the masses at the box office. But this film has elements that should please both camps. After three very science fiction oriented productions (AI: Artificial Intelligence, Minority Report, & television's "Taken"), Catch Me If You Can represents a departure from the norm for Steven Spielberg and he seems to have gotten the formula right.

No one can say that Spielberg's only talent lies in science fiction and action films. In fact, Spielberg may be one of the only directors who can lay a successful claim to more than one genre. This isn't a film about which someone would say, "go see it for the performances." Because it's much more than just the performances. And it's tempting to make a play on words concerning the title of this film and whether or not you should see it, but really, the film deserves more of a compliment than that. It's a fun caper movie that just happens to include some affecting emotional performances from its stars and some well-done cinematography, set direction, and music. Itís just too hard to put down any element of this film.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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