Catch Me If You Can (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition) (2002) Review
(More customer reviews)"Catch Me If You Can" is the story of real-life con artist Frank Abagnale, Jr. who, in the late 1960's and early 1970's, when he was between the ages of 16 and 21, wrote $2.5 million dollars in bad checks and became one of the most notorious con men in American history. The film follows Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) from his early high school pranks to his check-printing operation and eventual capture in France five years later. FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) doggedly pursues Frank as he successfully impersonates an air line pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer, living the life of a playboy and cashing ingeniously forged checks all along the way.
"Catch Me If You Can" was directed by Stephen Spielberg and, along with Minority Report, signifies a revival of Spielberg's directing talent after fifteen years of mediocre-at-best filmmaking. This film is fairly light fare, but it is immensely entertaining, funny, touching, and impeccably cast. Frank Abagnale, Jr. is a perfect fit for Leonardo DiCaprio, and is probably his best role since "What's Eating Gilbert Grape". Tom Hanks seems to have abandoned his typically saccharine roles this year -much to his credit- and puts in a wonderful performance as sympathetic geeky G-man Carl Hanratty (along with a terrific showing in "Road to Perdition"). Christopher Walken was the only actor to receive an Oscar nomination for "Catch Me If You Can". His performance as Frank Abagnale, Sr., our protagonist's down-and-out father, deserved the honor. Frank Jr.'s awkward combination of admiration and pity for his father seems to have been a key motivator in his illustrious life of crime, and Christopher Walken really helps us understand that.
The real Frank Abagnale, Jr. is a successful security consultant these days, protecting businesses from white collar crime. He cooperated with and bascially likes the film, but is quick to point out that "Catch Me If You Can" is based on his biography of the same name that was written about 25 years ago. Mr. Abagnale says that some aspects of his experiences were exaggerated in that book and some have been altered for the movie as well. Whatever the inaccuracies, Frank Abagnale, Jr.'s immense intelligence, ambition, and guts are the most striking elements of the film. It's the rarity of finding all of these qualities in such abundance in one person that make Frank's character so fascinating, and make him one of cinema's most lovable antiheroes.
I highly recommend "Catch Me If You Can" for its great performances and its extremely entertaining story of an ingenious con man and his noble pursuer...made all the more interesting because the story is largely true.
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