Catch Me If You Can

Picture: producers Walter Parkes, Steven Spielberg
Director: Spielberg
Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio
Supporting actor: Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken
Cinematographer: Janusz Kaminski
Original score: John Williams
Editor: Michael Kahn
Costume design: Mary Zophres

Steven Spielberg is not only one of Hollywood’s most decorated filmmakers, he is one of its most prolific. By year’s end, the American public will have witnessed not one but two of the director’s films in 2002, and the jury is out as to whether this diminishes the impact of a new Spielberg movie as an event film.

The pairing of Spielberg and Tom Cruise in “Minority Report” — a one-two B.O. punch if there ever was one on paper — did not live up to expectations even with a $132 million domestic haul. And with “Catch Me If You Can’s” teaming of Spielberg, Tom Hanks and “Titanic” star Leonardo DiCaprio, expectations are high.

The DreamWorks release will likely be the light contrasted with the dark of “Minority Report,” just as much as “Jurassic Park” was the commercial antidote to “Schindler’s List” in 1993, and “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” to “Amistad” in 1997.

The fact-based story — a cat-and-mouse game between con artist Frank Abagnale Jr. (DiCaprio) and the FBI agent (Hanks) on his trail — will give DiCaprio a chance to show off his range in the lead by fashioning many guises, while Hanks will be relieved of having to carry a film on his shoulders. The results could pay dividends for both, while the early buzz on Christopher Walken as Frank Abagnale Sr. is positive.

All the usual suspects in Spielberg’s posse are onboard for this ride, including d.p. Janusz Kaminski, composer John Williams and editor Michael Kahn — multiple Oscar winners all. And costume designer Mary Zophres should have fun with DiCaprio’s character and the film’s ’60s time frame.

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