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An FBI agent hunts down a young con artist who successfully impersonated an airline pilot, doctor, and assistant attorney general, cashing more than $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in 26 countries. Written by
Top-notch, brilliantly crafted entertainment, rich with fascinating details, memorable incidents and engaging performances
What a terrific piece of film-making! From the charming animated title sequence (featuring John Williams's delightfully sneaky score) to the end, this is an enormously entertaining film from the gifted craftsman, Steven Spielberg, who is so damn good people take him for granted or resent his "manipulation," i.e. his seemingly effortless ability to create effective drama.
Leonardo DiCaprio (in his best performance that I've seen) stars as Frank Abagnale, Jr., a real-life teen-aged con man so spectacularly gifted that he was able to steal millions from various companies with forged checks, while successfully impersonating an airline pilot, a doctor and a lawyer, among other guises. He is chased by a rigidly rule-bound F.B.I. agent, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), who is at first comically out-classed by the young improvising criminal genius; but the agent is steadfast and relentless and has the law on his side. The movie is filled with delightful supporting performances, starting with Hanks and continuing on with Nathalie Baye as the boy's selfish mother, Amy Adams as his immature fiancée and on down to the tiniest role. I'm especially grateful for the sympathetic part given to Christopher Walken, as the mischievous and spirited Abagnale Sr., whose life darkens as his fortunes fall. Walken is one of my favorite actors, but while I enjoy the occasional one-dimensional freak or villain he plays, I wish most of his parts were like this.
Spielberg's movie is rich with fascinating details and memorable incidents, while the script by Jeff Nathanson moves backward and forward in time to tell the story in the most engrossing way possible. This is top-notch entertainment.
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