Catch Me If You Can (2002)
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It Can Be Described As Comedy, Crime Film.

Plot In A Line

An FBI agent tracks down and catches a young con artist who successfully impersonated an airline pilot, doctor, assistant attorney general and history professor, cashing more than 2.5 million $ in fraudulent checks in 26 countries.

Some Words About The Director

Steven Spielberg creates a real dazzler here; it is effortlessly watchable and even at two and a half hours long, it doesn't become overbearing. With an uncommonly light touch that doesn't leave his fingerprints all over the picture, Spielberg plays all this deception for the cheeky, opportunistic fun it is in young Frank's mind.

Cast Overview

Leonardo DiCaprio .... Frank Abagnale Jr.
Tom Hanks .... Carl Hanratty
Christopher Walken .... Frank Abagnale, Sr.
Martin Sheen .... Roger Strong
Nathalie Baye .... Paula Abagnale
Amy Adams .... Brenda Strong
James Brolin .... Jack Barnes
Brian Howe .... Earl Amdursky
Frank John Hughes .... Tom Fox
Steve Eastin .... Paul Morgan
Chris Ellis .... Special Agent Witkins
John Finn .... Assistant Director Marsh
Jennifer Garner .... Cheryl Ann
Nancy Lenehan .... Carol Strong
Ellen Pompeo .... Marci

Comment 1

That this is a true story probably goes without saying, since it is too preposterous to have been invented by a screenwriter. Abagnale also passed millions of dollars in bogus checks, dazzled women with his wealth and accomplishments, and was, a lot of the time, basically a sad and lonely teenager. At the time the only honest relationships in his life were with his father and with the FBI agent who was chasing him.

Abagnale is played by Leonardo DiCaprio as a young man who succeeds at his incredible impersonations by the simple device of never seeming to try very hard. While an airline employee might be suspicious of a very young-looking man who insists he is a pilot, what could be more disarming than a man offered a trip in the jump seat who confesses, "It's been awhile. Which one is the jump seat?"

Comment 2

DiCaprio, in this movie discovers what he is good at, and does it. There is a kind of genius flowing in the scene where he turns up for classes at a new school, walks into the classroom to discover that a substitute teacher is expected and, without missing a beat, writes his name on the blackboard, and tells the students to shut up and sit down and tell him what chapter they're on.

It is probably true that most people will take you at face value until they have reason to do otherwise. I had a friend who had risen to a high level in her organization and was terrified her secret would be discovered: She never attended college. My guess, and it proved accurate, was that nobody would ever think to ask her. It is probably an even better guess that no patient in a hospital would ask to see a doctor's medical school diploma.

Comment 3

While being genuinely funny, this film is also a fascinating and engrossing study of loneliness, insecurity, and the shifting emotions in relationships.

Throughout the film, Frank Jr. is driven by a desire to restore his divided family. He repeatedly tries to get his father and mother back together. But more than that, he seeks the comfort of family‚ the only time he fully confesses his ruses is when his life with Brenda and her warm, welcoming family is threatened, a family he successfully repairs but ultimately cannot enter. This also partially explains his relationship with Carl whose authority turns him into a father figure for Frank.

One of the many ironies of the film is that Carl is in much the same situation: he uses his power over Frank to treat him like the child he lost during a bitter divorce.

Comment 4

Somehow turning a Scorsese-esque crime picture into a Capraesque butterball, this latest film from director Steven Spielberg charts yet another shift toward "maturity": Frank Abagnale Jr. , teenage check-forger, doctor-impersonator, and boy of a thousand fake identities, gravitates away from his failed small-businessman father and toward a sort of adopted dad--the fuddy-duddy FBI bureaucrat sent to capture him. (Hanks tries and fails to channel Dan Aykroyd's just-the-facts performance in Dragnet.) The film wants to say that Frank Jr. isn't really a criminal: He just wants a father figure to spank him and "set some limits." It perpetuates the hokum that crime is just a form of acting out--and, in the process, it loses all the gleam-of-larceny appeal that makes this kind of movie exciting in the first place.

Further Information

Runtime: 141 min
Country: USA
Language: English / French
Color: Yes
Studio: Umvd/Dreamworks
DVD Release Date: May 6, 2003
Box-office gross: 164,606,800 US Dollars