25 December 2003 | bob the moo
Slick and enjoyable story telling
When his parents file for divorce and he has to chose between them for custody, Frank Abagnale Jnr runs away from home. He begins to con his way around - getting better and better at it with each ruse. Posing as a pilot, a lawyer and a doctor he earns his money from cashing forged cheques. As the numbers go up, FBI agent Carl Hanratty starts tracking him in a game of cat and mouse.
Based on a true story, although it doesn't rely on `and it really happened' to be a good film - although that this guy could even do half of this stuff is impressive, this film is a slick bit of entertainment even if it left me feeling a little bit like it was too much presentation. The plot starts at the end and jumps back to see the whys and the hows of the tale. It is told with a slick energy that keeps the story moving and never really lingers on any scene longer than it has to. It is for this reason that the two hours goes by relatively quickly.
The presentation is good. Williams' score is not as memorable as his usual work but it is what the film needs it to be - unobtrusive and slick. Just like the opening credits, this film is very much a chase movie with a nice sense of period. The only downside of this slickness is that it feels like eating a sweet - it is very nice while it lasts but it doesn't fill you up. I enjoyed the film but it did leave me wondering what else there was; even if I did still have a sugary taste in my mouth. But to be fair - this is a minor compliant as the film didn't set out to be some massive thought provoking film; it was a chase movie and it was a very stylish and enjoyable one at that.
The cast is good even if they aren't all used well. If anyone can tell me why Jennifer Garner even bothered to show up I'll be happy to listen. DiCaprio is very good. I'm not a massive fan of his but he was engaging here and looked about the right age to play the part - sort of between man and boy. Hanks does good work in support. Because his character is quite drab it is easy to forget him but I really enjoyed him and thought he brought more to the film than DiCaprio. Walken is good in support and Sheen adds another famous name to the end credits but it is very much a two hander with Hanks and DiCaprio more than able.
Overall this film is a slick, stylish chase movie which should be enjoyed as such and is slightly more enjoyable for being a true story. If anything it is a little too slick for it's own good, but that is a petty complaint to make against a film that kept me pleasingly entertained for the past two hours!