Catch Me If You Can (5)



  Anybody whoís torn between whether the death penalty is worse than life imprisonment should see Catch Me If You Can. Sitting through this thing should resolve that dilemma conclusively.  Death is merciful compared with monotony.

 Has Steven Spielberg lost it?  He apparently directed this; at least thatís what the credits say. Itís hard to believe that the guy who directed fast-moving films like Jaws and the Indiana Jones series and Duel also directed this ponderous paceless piece. Catch Me If You Can might have been a good 80-minute movie.  However this story, loosely based on Ď60s era teenage poseur Frank Abagnale, Jr.  (Leonardo DiCaprio), runs an interminable 2 hours and 20 minutes.  One thinks one is in for life.  Itís not just slow, itís sloooooooooooow.

 And, talk about wasted talent!  If Tom Hanks is truly one of the great actors of our time, a dubious premise at best, then this is a deplorable dissipation of that talent.  Hanksí role in this film, as an FBI agent (Carl Hanratty) chasing Abagnale, is one dimensional, and could have been adequately handled by a fairly competent character actor (although, in truth, one doesnít come swimmingly to mind).  In fact, while Iím on it, if Hanksí role really is star quality, Clark Gable or Spencer Tracy or Russell Crowe would have added something to it.  Hanks disappears in this turgid script by Jeff Nathanson.

 Unless youíre looking for a cure for insomnia, avoid this if you can.

 The End

 January 3, 2003