Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Movie Moments: Catch Me If You Can

Welcome to a weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. There are great movies, and then there are great scenes. Ideally, the two come as a package deal, but sometimes there’s just a scene that’s memorable all by itself. Each week, I’ll be taking a look at a formative movie moment that may be notable for its style, content, technique, or something else altogether. Minor spoilers will be referenced in this edition of the series, so please stop reading if you’ve somehow avoided seeing the movie in question.

There isn’t another film that quite achieves the tone of Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can,” the chronicle of Frank Abagnale, the real-life con man who posed as many different things throughout his prolific and illustrious career. I thought first of the early scene in which Frank, too dressed up for his first day at a new school, decides to pose as the substitute teacher and humiliate the bully who mocked his outfit. Paired with the second clip, it’s a perfect introduction to the gradual improvement and finessing of Frank’s technique, as he seeks out the victim for his latest plot. Fortunately, it’s Elizabeth Banks’ bank teller Lucy, who gushes with nervous laughter as Frank tells her that he wants to deposit a check and, with the ultimate line, take her out for a steak dinner. His grace and charm enables him to get a firsthand lesson on how checks are made, giving him most of what he needs to know to start forging them. This is one of the best Leonardo DiCaprio performances I’ve ever seen, certainly better than most of the ones that have netted him Oscar nominations, and the film is just so colorful, endearing, and well-scored. It’s a highly underrated and terrific cat-and-mouse film.

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