Archive for April 9th, 2019

By J.D. Lafrance

I’ve never been a big fan of Steven Spielberg’s post-1980s film career as he juggled big budget box office blockbusters (Jurassic Park) with obvious bids for Academy Award validation (Amistad). It has been the more offbeat films, like Munich (2008) and Catch Me If You Can (2002) that I’ve preferred over the likes of Schindler’s List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). To me, Catch Me If You Can has a looser, more freewheeling feel to it reminiscent of Spielberg’s earlier films, like The Sugarland Express (1974) or Jaws (1975). The film is based on the life of Frank Abagnale Jr., a clever con man who managed to steal millions of dollars during the 1960s and 1970s by convincingly assuming the identity of a Pan American World Airways pilot, a Georgia doctor and a Louisiana lawyer – all before his 19th birthday. He would become the youngest person ever placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. Not only did Catch Me feature a more playful Spielberg, but demonstrated Leonardo DiCaprio’s genuine acting chops – something he hadn’t really done since What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993). The film began a terrific run for the young actor who went on to star in films directed by Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott and Christopher Nolan.


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