Dad : டேய் சிகாமணி.. நீ ஒரு எஞ்சினியரா, டாக்டரா, வக்கீலா வருவென்னெல்லாம் கனவு கண்டேனேடா.. நீ இப்படி இருக்கியேடா.
Son : உனக்கு அறிவே இல்லப்பா.. ஒரே ஆள் எப்படி எஞ்சினியரா, டாக்டரா, வக்கீலா வர முடியும்.
This might not have been possible for Sigaamani but Frank William Abagnale Jr made it happen in 1960s. You must be interested in what he did and of course, how. Based on his real life, a film was made and the name is CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. I admire the dialog said by a con in an old Tamil film Manthirikumari – “கொள்ளையடிப்பது ஒரு கலை”. Covering up a fraud is more difficult than committing it. I am highly fascinated towards the Con/robbery movies – Inside man, Oceans 11, MI, The day of the Jackal, flawless.
Sometimes, I look forward for associating simple themes to great directors. Like Spielberg directing a bank robbery [ Imagine ARR worked in the movie ‘Kadhal’ ].. The reason is they’ll definitely study the subject very well and we’ll be offered a real good cinema experience. Similar thought came to original Frank Abagnale and he laid the condition that his life story has to be directed with only Spielberg so that his interesting life is justified on screen. Spielberg, in fact, didn’t disappoint Frank.
There are 2 types of frauds – one using the physical power and the other one using mental skills. This white collar crime is tough to crack; especially counterfeiting. Remember our SME Salomon in ‘Counterfeiters’ and the novel ‘Rajarajan kinaru’ by Sujatha.
Catch me if you can – Drama/2002
Cast : Leonardo Dicaprio, Tom Hanks
Music : John Williams
Produced & Directed by : Steven Spielberg
This film picturises the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr. ( Leonardo DiCaprio – don’t read about the real life character till you finish this movie ), a near-perfect artist who is good at cheating in all posible ways. All he needs is just paying attention to what he says. He becomes the youngest victim wanted by FBI for the list of forgers. He is chased by agent from FBI called Carl Hanratty ( Tom Hanks). Abagnale escapes – but not always. You have to watch the movie to know what happens to such a great artistic and master fraud.
The titling is one of the finest aspects in the film. In fact, the story board comics kind of title previews the happenings. It is by far one of the more artistic titles. As I indicated that’s the power of a great director to get involved in this category of movies – they start their presence in the titling and in the first shot [ like opening shot in Anjathey ]. It’s cleverly done so that the animation doesn’t reveal the story but just the outline.
The movie starts at a dull pace showing the problems with Sr Agabnale. Once, Jr Abagnale is left alone to lead a life, the script traverses at a different speed. We all have the secret desire to cheat sometimes [ டேப் அடிச்ச 10 ரூபாயை மத்த நோட்டுக்கு நடுவில வச்சி தள்ளிடுவோமே.. அந்த மாதிரி ].
The techniques Abagnale use, are amazing. Of course, it’s more of his speech mixed with actions. Whenever he does something, he engages the opponent with his eye contact.
The core of the film is not about the adventures he makes rather the problem that forced him to do so. Disturbed brought-up and separated families are used as the undercurrent. The FBI agent gets a call on Christmas from Abagnale and the talk continues. For the first time in life, he calls the FBI agent Tom. Tom says to Abagnale that he has called him not to give any clue where he stays now but the actual reason is that he doesn’t have anyone else to talk. The film subtly touches about the disjoined families and loneliness.
Watch for the beautiful flow of the script. It has all the best possible incidents that could happen in a hide and seek movie. This movie incorporates ‘open suspense’ type of storytelling. [ where the victim is identified and getting chased; like Krishnaswamy chasing Senapathy in INDIAN ]. Even there’s a scene where the FBI agent happens to meet Abag. The unpredictable nature of Abagnale is the key in the story. He always plans a level above the FBI guys to overcome the traps.
As I mentioned in ‘Counterfeiters’, no knowledge is useless; even his undetectable frauds saves him. Watch out the fabulous ending and check what happened to Abagnale afterwards.
John Williams is the music director of this film. What a great scope can a MD get in a police-thief theme ? In fact, it’s a challenge to showcase the talent in star studded period film and that too directed by Spielberg. John has done a sparkling job and it can be experienced when you listen to this theme music of this film. [ Saxaphone vellayatu ].
Kudos to the entire crew for incorporating US in 1960s [ really a challenge to set the period ]. Even they recreated MIAMI international airport as in 60s.
Brilliant screenplay – The true story of a real fake !