starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Jennifer Garner
screenplay by Jeff Nathanson, based on the book by Frank W. Abagnale and Stan Redding
directed by Steven Spielberg
by Walter Chaw There's an old Ray Bradbury story from 1948 called "Touch and Go" (since reprinted as "The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl") that tells the tale of a burglar who surprises the homeowner in his house and accidentally kills him. Erasing his fingerprints from a few surfaces, the burglar panics and starts wiping objects in rooms he hadn't visited and items, such as the fruit at the bottom of a bowl, he could not have handled. When the police find him hours later, he's in the attic polishing old silverware. Like Bradbury's thief, Spielberg is getting away with murder in most of his films post-Close Encounters of the Third Kind (particularly A.I., Minority Report, Schindler's List, Empire of the Sun, and Saving Private Ryan) until self-doubt and paranoia consume him, seducing him to a fatal eleventh-hour appeal. Spielberg is the bad test-taker, changing his answers to damn his instincts.