Catch Me If You Can (2002) Poster

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Very good film has those Spielberg edges!
rosscinema18 March 2003
At first I thought I was going to see a lightweight film from a great director but instead I watched another impressive achievement by Steven Spielberg. A few things stand out and of course the performances are terrific. Leonardo Dicaprio is believable as a guy that can convince people that he's someone else. Dicaprio is a charmer and is very smooth as we watch his character do some fancy talk to the young ladies. Tom Hanks as the FBI agent reminds me of his cynical character that he played in "A League of Their Own" and his mere presence adds more to this film. The sign of a great film star. And Christopher Walken gives one of his best performances in his already interesting career. The last scene of him as he talks to his son in the restaurant is so moving that it reflects on the great talent of Walken. You can understand why Dicaprio admires and loves his father. Walken conveys these emotions and makes the audience react just accurately. I'll be rooting for him at Oscar time. Another impressive thing about this film is the beautiful cinematography by Janusz Kaminski who's a real artist with a camera and has worked on several Spielberg films. One shot in particular stands out. The ray of sunshine coming in through the kitchen window on Walken. Very thought provoking. And of course since its a Spielberg film its very personal. Spielberg was interested in the Frank Abagnale character because as a youngster he also came from a broken family and wanted to be someone else. Spielberg would sneak onto the studios and tell people that he worked there. Also, the real Frank Abagnale jr. appears as a French police officer. Well made, extremely well acted and sharply written. Viewers seem to forget that this is really a film about the breaking up of a family and the aftermath. This really is a personal film from Spielberg, and a very good one.
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Witty con man.
jotix10024 January 2003
From the opening credits design we get in the mood of this very entertaining film. They create the tone for what will follow. Steven Spielberg is in rare form directing this movie that doesn't have a dull moment.

Mr. Spielberg has found a perfect actor to fill the shoes of the con man with the perfect casting of Leonardo DiCaprio. It's very easy to see why all the women fall prey of this charmer. He was a fast talker and a slick operator. He exudes charisma to fill another couple of movies.

It's a welcome sight to have Mr. DiCaprio working in a vehicle that shows his talent as Frank Abagnale, a man of many faces. He plays a game of hide-and-seek throughout the movie with Hanratty, the FBI agent that is in his trail. Tom Hanks shows great assurance and gusto with this character. Of course, the DiCaprio magnetism dominates the action with the many ironic twists and the miraculous and narrow escapes he pulls with an aplomb that's bewildering to the Feds, who are on his tail all the time.

The minor roles are equally important. Christopher Walken as the father starts out as the prototype of the con man, but he's too decent to do wrong; his business fails eventually. His marriage to Natalie Baye, the fine French actress, ends in divorce because obviously she hates being married to a loser.

The action doesn't stop for one moment. This film is great fun to watch with the winning combination Mr. Spielberg assured hand gives us this time out. Mr. Spielberg can thank the genial Mr. DiCaprio who responds obviously to his direction and makes this con man endearing even when he is committing crimes.
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I haven't read the book just yet - I definitely will now!
camcmahon31 March 2005
This was an entertaining and fun piece of film making from the ever-reliable Steven Spielberg. It is a bit of a depart from his usual full-blown and hugely epic pictures, yet this does not detract at all from the fascinating story of Frank Abagnale Jr. I was interested in this man before I'd seen the movie, and it only served to increase my interest. Although it is important to remember (as with any such film) that this is only 'inspired' by a true story and not told word for word from one, the plot is fascinating and keeps you laughing, crying and wondering until the end.

Frank Abagnale Jr. is an astounding and interesting character. The real life Abagnale originally said that he did not believe Dicaprio to be 'suave' enough to play the role, but he certainly does pull it off. Dicaprio's acting is superb, and totally believable as a man who could lie to, deceive, and con everyone he met without once losing any of his charisma or charm. Hanks is also excellent, he plays the role of the obsessed FBI agent well, and also with a likable quality. The interaction between these two characters was great, it was interesting to see a budding relationship slowly build between two characters who were actually positioned against one another.

I loved the look of the film. It was a refreshing blast to see the 60s portrayed in such a vivid and colorful way. The whole setting and atmosphere of the film gave it a wonderful and almost (I hesitate to use the word) 'magical' sense. This tone appealed to me much more than a darker tone might have.

However, the film is rife with moral ambiguity. As much fun as it is to watch Dicaprio jumping from one place (and identity) to the next, forging checks and spending inordinate amounts of money at a whim, the film never really focuses on the morally bankrupt side of the story. The portion of the film devoted to this at the end still seems to skim over the fact that this man has stolen millions of dollars. It ends on a high note for Frank Abagnale Jr., never fully spelling out the wrongs he committed. Still, this would probably bring the whole film down, and sometimes it's fun just to enjoy a bit of escapism without being told off for desiring such things. I mean, it's hard to be totally strict and upright - you have to love it when Dicaprio's character swindles Jennifer Garner's prostitute for $400!

Overall, this is a fun film and really enjoyable. Not as much of an epic masterpiece as some of Spielberg's other movies, but still a great film!
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Top-notch, brilliantly crafted entertainment, rich with fascinating details, memorable incidents and engaging performances
J. Spurlin5 June 2010
What a terrific piece of film-making! From the charming animated title sequence (featuring John Williams's delightfully sneaky score) to the end, this is an enormously entertaining film from the gifted craftsman, Steven Spielberg, who is so damn good people take him for granted or resent his "manipulation," i.e. his seemingly effortless ability to create effective drama.

Leonardo DiCaprio (in his best performance that I've seen) stars as Frank Abagnale, Jr., a real-life teen-aged con man so spectacularly gifted that he was able to steal millions from various companies with forged checks, while successfully impersonating an airline pilot, a doctor and a lawyer, among other guises. He is chased by a rigidly rule-bound F.B.I. agent, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), who is at first comically out-classed by the young improvising criminal genius; but the agent is steadfast and relentless and has the law on his side. The movie is filled with delightful supporting performances, starting with Hanks and continuing on with Nathalie Baye as the boy's selfish mother, Amy Adams as his immature fiancée and on down to the tiniest role. I'm especially grateful for the sympathetic part given to Christopher Walken, as the mischievous and spirited Abagnale Sr., whose life darkens as his fortunes fall. Walken is one of my favorite actors, but while I enjoy the occasional one-dimensional freak or villain he plays, I wish most of his parts were like this.

Spielberg's movie is rich with fascinating details and memorable incidents, while the script by Jeff Nathanson moves backward and forward in time to tell the story in the most engrossing way possible. This is top-notch entertainment.
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A lot of fun
rbverhoef8 June 2003
While watching 'Catch Me If You Can' I had so much fun I smiled constantly. Well, that smile was interrupted by laughs. The movie tells the story of Frank W. Abignale, Jr. who is just a kid as he pretends to be a schoolteacher. After his father and mother get a divorce he runs away and starts pretending to be a co-pilot, a doctor, a lawyer. The way he does this is funny and brilliant.

I am not a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio who plays Frank but in this movie he is perfect. He gives a very fine performance. Tom Hanks is the FBI-agent Carl who is after him, and as always Hanks is good.

The story is inspired by a real story. I don't know in how many ways it is true but watching this guy all I wanted to see was him pulling more of his nice little tricks. The scene where he pretends to be a schoolteacher is just great. If you want a nice funny movie, not too heavy, this one will definitely please you.
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Brilliant, especially DiCaprio
vchimpanzee11 November 2005
On Leonardo DiCaprio's 31st birthday, I have the pleasure of praising one of the finest actors working today. I didn't realize what I was seeing when that homeless boy showed up on 'Growing Pains'--a show not exactly known for the quality of its actors. And I didn't see much to like about "Titanic" except the excitement of watching the people evacuating and the ship sinking. Also, 'Romeo and Juliet' was just corny, with 400-year-old dialogue in a modern setting.

But if he could be nominated for his 'Aviator' performance, DiCaprio must be doing something right. And here he shows us what he is capable of. Especially when Frank Jr. is conning people, and most of all when he tries to outwit Hanatty. I am reminded of Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones in "The Fugitive", or perhaps Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason in "Smokey and the Bandit". The strange but enjoyable chemistry between these two characters goes a long way toward making this movie work.

Frank Jr. showed a lot of intelligence, and DiCaprio effectively showed us what this man could do. Imagine what he could have accomplished if he had stayed on the right side of the law. But his life on the run was more fun to watch.

Tom Hanks, as popular as he is, can be commended for his willingness to play second banana for a change. And he did a fine job. Martin Sheen and Christopher Walken also made an impact here.

I loved the old cars and the even older songs. The clip from 'To Tell the Truth' was a nice touch. The theme song still gives me a craving for vanilla ice cream after nearly 30 years (I didn't feel I had time to watch the new version).

This was Oscar-caliber. Too bad the Academy Awards people didn't seem to agree.
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Hard to believe its true
mjw230517 January 2005
I Don't know how accurate these events are but as they are based on accounts written by Frank Abagale Jr. himself, then i assume that they are probably only dramatised for the viewing audience.

It's hard to believe that people were so naive, that they allowed Frank Abagnale to achieve what he did, but i have give the guy credit for pushing the system, and riding the high life for as long as he did.

Leonardo DiCaprio does a great job of capturing the character of Frank Abignale Jr. (strange i didn't picture him in the role of a jet setting Gigalo) and the rest of the cast although only little more than fringe characters, are all very well cast and give typically fine performances, as you would expect with the calibre of Hanks and Walken.

All in all this is a fine film, that most people will enjoy watching 8/10
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Amazing movie!
Shawouni30 December 2014
This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It had everything - great actors, great music by John Williams, the amazing director Steven Spielberg. It wasn't boring for a second although being over 2 hours long. I simply didn't want it to end and this is the main reason I gave the movie a 10.

I loved the main character Frank's attitude and his brilliant way of thinking. The fact that it's based on a true story makes it even better. I had to Google Frank Abagnale Jr. after watching this and the friendly face that smiled on the pictures wasn't really what I expected. Leo plays the roll very well - give the man an Oscar already! I'm also thinking that Leo and Tom Hanks must have had a lot of fun filming this.

There were many famous actors and actresses in smaller rolls, which I liked. Perhaps some of them weren't so famous back in 2002 (I'm a bit too lazy to do the research at the moment) but seeing for example Ellen Pompeo and Jennifer Garner made me even more interested in the movie. Sometimes, movies with too many movie stars falls flat, for some reason. But this one certainly did not!

I'll definitely watch Catch Me If You Can more than once, more than twice! Loved it! <3
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Slick and enjoyable story telling
bob the moo25 December 2003
When his parents file for divorce and he has to chose between them for custody, Frank Abagnale Jnr runs away from home. He begins to con his way around - getting better and better at it with each ruse. Posing as a pilot, a lawyer and a doctor he earns his money from cashing forged cheques. As the numbers go up, FBI agent Carl Hanratty starts tracking him in a game of cat and mouse.

Based on a true story, although it doesn't rely on `and it really happened' to be a good film - although that this guy could even do half of this stuff is impressive, this film is a slick bit of entertainment even if it left me feeling a little bit like it was too much presentation. The plot starts at the end and jumps back to see the whys and the hows of the tale. It is told with a slick energy that keeps the story moving and never really lingers on any scene longer than it has to. It is for this reason that the two hours goes by relatively quickly.

The presentation is good. Williams' score is not as memorable as his usual work but it is what the film needs it to be - unobtrusive and slick. Just like the opening credits, this film is very much a chase movie with a nice sense of period. The only downside of this slickness is that it feels like eating a sweet - it is very nice while it lasts but it doesn't fill you up. I enjoyed the film but it did leave me wondering what else there was; even if I did still have a sugary taste in my mouth. But to be fair - this is a minor compliant as the film didn't set out to be some massive thought provoking film; it was a chase movie and it was a very stylish and enjoyable one at that.

The cast is good even if they aren't all used well. If anyone can tell me why Jennifer Garner even bothered to show up I'll be happy to listen. DiCaprio is very good. I'm not a massive fan of his but he was engaging here and looked about the right age to play the part - sort of between man and boy. Hanks does good work in support. Because his character is quite drab it is easy to forget him but I really enjoyed him and thought he brought more to the film than DiCaprio. Walken is good in support and Sheen adds another famous name to the end credits but it is very much a two hander with Hanks and DiCaprio more than able.

Overall this film is a slick, stylish chase movie which should be enjoyed as such and is slightly more enjoyable for being a true story. If anything it is a little too slick for it's own good, but that is a petty complaint to make against a film that kept me pleasingly entertained for the past two hours!
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Captivating DiCaprio, engaging story
george.schmidt30 December 2002
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (2002) **** Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, Nathalie Baye, Amy Adams, James Brolin, Frank John Hughes, Brian Howe, John Finn, Jennifer Garner. DiCaprio gives a grandly charming performance as Frank Abagnale, Jr. a teenager who adopted the professional guises of airplane pilot, physician and lawyer to front his check kiting schematic modus operandi during the 1960s and eventually making the FBI's most wanted list by bilking millions until his capture and imprisonment. Based on Abagnale's best-selling memoir and adapted with lean storytelling by Jeff Nathanson, the film never lets up in the giddy cat-and-mouse/Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote relationship between fugitive DiCaprio and amalgamated FBI square Hanks (replete with thick as clam chowder Boston accent, dorky specs and porkpie hat) one step behind his two-steps ahead prey and a unique dynamic of a father/son esthetic. Walken gives an Oscar worthy supporting turn as the elder Abagnale whose financial woes and tanglement with the IRS acts as his son's catalyst. Once again filmmaker Steven Spielberg makes popular entertainment into a work of art.
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Brill movie
tvegalovebeck1 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I have just finished this movie and I can honestly say this is such a addictive movie!! once you have watched it you want to watch it over and over again!!! It is so funny how Frank passes himself off as a Pam Am pilot, a lawyer and a doctor all before he is 21. It is also a shame at the end where Carl tells Frank his father is dead and he doesn't believe it. It is funny at the beginning where Frank says he is dying and they take him to the hospital and he escapes and when he pretended to be a substitute teachers and calls himself Mr Abagnale and when he embarrasses the bully in front of the entire class!!!! He looks so cute as a boy!!
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Catch It If You Can!
MovieAddict201622 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers
"Catch Me If You Can" is based on the true story of Frank Abagnale, the most successful conman in history. By the age of 19, Frank had already posed as a pilot for Pan Am, paraded around as a medical doctor, and fooled everyone by taking an on-the-side-job as a lawyer. (By the way, he faked a Harvard-graduate diploma to become one.) During this time he cashed fraudulent checks at various banks around the country, and eventually around various places in the world. His is an amazing story, and this film is based on it.

There's no real plot to go into, as I have already given it to you. Other than telling you that the film opens when Frank is sixteen and runs away from home after his parents (Christopher Walken and Nathalie Baye) have a messy divorce, you pretty much have the setup for a light, fluffy, and altogether fun film.

Frank is played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and the man hot on his trail, agent Carl Hanratty, is played by Tom Hanks. There isn't really a Carl Hanratty in real life, but it adds to the story. Frank, on the run, actually starts to become friends with Hanratty, who realizes Frank is just an adolescent and does not realize the eventual outcomes of what he is doing. Hanratty sort of adopts Frank, even after he is caught and thrown in a French prison. He helps him get transferred to an American prison, and then even gets him a job in the FBI for spotting fraudulent checks.

I read Frank William Abagnale, Jr.'s true-crime memoir, which was released a few decades ago. It differs from the film at times, and it isn't always as light-hearted as the film is. But in terms of pure, fluffy fun at the movies, "Catch Me If You Can" is a sure-fire hit. At times it seems to stray a bit too far off the path of realism, unlike the book, but that's part of the fun, really.

The film is entirely watchable, and doesn't try to become an epic. 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. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and, unlike most critics, I thought Tom Hanks did a great job in his role.

I especially like how Spielberg captured the image of the '60s so well here, and John Williams' score fits the part of the film very well. And as for the cast, they are all matched perfectly to their characters. I especially liked Christopher Walken as Frank Abagnale, Sr., who steals every scene he is in. His performance was worthy of its Oscar nom.

If you just want to sit back and relax, "Catch Me If You Can" is the perfect film for you. There's nothing all that special in the film, but the film kind of becomes special because it is so easy to watch. I recommend "Catch Me If You Can" to anyone who can enjoy a movie for what it is.

"Catch Me If You Can" is a true popcorn flick, and maybe a little bit more.

4.5/5 stars -

John Ulmer
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One of the Best Movies Ever!
jonathan_maroon21 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Catch Me if You Can is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It is without a doubt the most underrated movie I have ever seen, especially with the all star cast it has.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, I know this might not be a popular vote but it is my favourite Spielberg film he has made.

The acting is perfect. Leonardo DiCaprio is Oscar worthy, the fact that he didn't win Best Actor at the Academy Awards is amazing. Tom Hanks should have also received Best Supporting Actor and Steven Spielberg easily Best Director.

The script is one of the best scripts I have ever heard with some of the best dialogue ever. This movie is so funny. There is one scene towards the end were Tom Hanks is on the phone at the airport and you just see Leo and the stewardess' walk write by him, that had me on the floor laughing.

The ending is a perfect wrap-up to a perfect movie. 2 hours and 20 minutes of perfection

10 out of 10 stars.

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Catch it if you can. I concur this movie is good.
ironhorse_iv16 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Catch Me If You Can is a pretty interesting movie that is supposedly based on the life of Frank Abagnale, who, before his 19th birthday, successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars. He was allow to pull this off, by posing high income jobs, and forging payroll checks. The movie by Steven Spielberg is really trying hard, not to say based off true events, as the movie use 'inspired by a true story" in order to avoid controversy similar to other past biographical films, which deviated from history. In my opinion, the movie doesn't deviated from the autobiography of Frank Abagnale too much. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the teenager Frank Abagnale who after witnessing his parents awful divorce, run away. When he runs out of money, he begins to rely on confidence scams to get by. Soon, Frank's cons grow bolder and he even impersonates an airline pilot, a Georgia doctor, and a Louisiana parish prosecutor. He drew attention by the FBI Bank fraud agency lead by Det. Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks). Soon enough, it become a game of cat and mouse, with Frank trying everything to try to escape, and Carl trying everything to try to catch him. Set in the 1960s, the movie has this early James Bond type spy genre escapism theme going with it. Even the opening of the film by Olivier Kuntzel & Florence Deygas, looks something out of a 1960s spy film with its one of a kind title sequence. The slender Lowreyesque stamp style animation figures run through environments that symbolize key plot points from the film to the 1960s jazz-era score by John Williams is amazing and memorable. The movie was shot with bright vibrant colors, bringing out the world that no longer exist, built on trust and a firm handshake. There is a few historical anachronisms, but nothing really standing out for too long. The movie is pretty predictable as it gives you the whole story in the opening shot of the film. Approximately 80 percent of the movie is true based on Frank Abagnale Jr's account, but there were some stuff, they didn't mention on the film, the producers change or Frank just make it up. After all, Frank is indeed a consummate liar. Lots of plot holes or scenes never truly explain well. There is one outlandish scene with him looking for female airplane attendant recruits just in the space of one day and another one escaping a jet through the toilet. You have to hold, suspense of disbelief here. There was a stint, not added to the film, where Frank was professor of sociology at a college in Salt Lake City, Utah that was supposedly cut due to time constraints; but the truth is, the college, Brigham Young University, repudiates this claim that he never did teach there. The film, somewhat change it to him pretending to a French teacher in the beginning a local New York school. Another thing is his relationship with his father. In the film, Frank has a strong relationship with his dad. His father love that his son is stealing from the government and business, because they didn't support him when his business went under. Not in the case of real life, as his first victim was indeed his father stealing $3,400 from him in credit card fraud. Also, Abagnale never saw his father after he ran away from home, unlike the film. Other minor changes is that, the movie omitted his two jail attempts to get away from prison and his time in France. It would be nice to see that, both the movie would had been long. One more thing, FBI officer who was chasing Frank was really Joe Shea. Frank Abagnale Jr. used the pseudonym "Sean O'Reilly" in his book because Joe Shea was still in the F. B. I. He has since passed away, but the movie still used a new name, Carl Hanratty. I love the relationship between Frank and Carl in this movie. The chemistry in their respective roles is what breathes life into this film. There is a great scene at a motel between the two. The whole act was so risky. Leo play Frank with integrity and accuracy. He got the suave playboy down being bold and stylish. Tom Hanks was great as Carl. Season actor by this time, going toe to toe with a then, still-green, Leo. There is another great scene where both of their character call on Christmas. You can really tell the lack of family in Leo's character making him sympathy giving him a Freudian excuse. As less, he wasn't unlikeable. Catch me if You Can deals with themes of broken homes and troubled childhoods so well. The female characters played by Jennifer Garner, Ellen Pompeo and Elizabeth Banks were alright, but in my opinion, I have to say, Amy Adams as Brenda Strong was the best. Amy Adams as Brenda Strong gave one of the best performance in the film, as the emotional Brenda. I felt sad on what happen to her character. Also check out, the real Frank Abagnale as one of the French police officers toward the end. The music is great. I love the way, they use Frank Sinatra 'come fly with me'. Full of fantasy glam. The movie comes with a good moral message. Overall: Highly Informative and Incredibly Life Changing, Yet Subtly Descriptive and Wildly Entertaining. Worth the watch. So catch it!
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Don't you think that this movie is some kind of comedy?
cherenedelvais15 March 2006
I think the movie is some kind of comedy. What would you say about that? The most of my friends think that the movie is not funny. They think that it's too serious. I watched it 3 years ago and i truly had fun. Tom and Leo act very comical.The way that Leo's character lies everybody about his life and his job is very, very, very interesting!Tom's character chaising is laughmaker too!When he take all the pink clothes from the washmachine and so on...when Leo cheat Tom with the document in the hotel room...when hot girl throw at Leo the playcards and ask more money...when Tom sing at the table on cristmas and slap his hands...and more and more funny staff about this great movie! I cant understand why they told me that this movie is not funny!?!
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A light hearted yet polished film
tuna-56718 March 2014
Going into this movie I was far from excited but I was utterly impressed by how this movie was executed. I knew the acting was going to be solid, you can never go wrong with Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio, but they weren't the only superb things about this movie.

I was most astounded by how entertained I was during this film. It was brilliantly put together and wildly engaging.

To say I was surprised by the bouncy and vivacious screenplay is an understatement. There are scenes that are truly playful, lively and to my surprise, comedic. DiCaprio executes his perky and charming character flawlessly; he handles the vibrant persona with ease.

Do I even need to talk about Tom Hanks, I mean, we all know he's a remarkable actor.

Amy Adams has a small but very spirited role.

I came into this movie because of the actors and came out immensely delighted.
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Going Places
slokes17 March 2006
Steven Spielberg has what you might call D.W. Griffith disease. If he can't make a monumental film, he makes an insignificant one. I thought that, anyway, until a second viewing of "Catch Me If You Can" convinced me I was wrong. Like many great artists, Spielberg doesn't have to swing for the fences to make an indelible impression every time out.

Indelible impressions are the sort of thing Frank Abagnale Jr. is good at, especially on the kind of phony checks that fool bank security. After his parents' divorce, Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) sets off in the Big Apple, making his way as an airline pilot, a doctor, and an assistant district attorney, all by means of fraudulent credentials and irresistible charm, not to mention the ability to stay one step ahead of the law, as represented by FBI Special Agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks).

A film that owes a debt to Alfred Hitchcock by way of Henry Mancini, "Catch Me If You Can" zips along on its own kind of sneaky charm, making us root for a character who would probably steal our life savings if given half a chance. At the same time, Spielberg avoids the pitfall of relativism by making sure Hanks as Hanratty keeps some amount of our rooting interest, however much we feel for this crazy kid with his naive belief that, like the mouse stuck in a bucket of cream, he can churn his bucket into butter and crawl out. It's a trick every bit worthy of the subject of this engaging tale.

From the opening moments of this film, featuring the best-ever Spielberg titles sequence (courtesy of Kuntzel-Deggas) and a very unusual but entrancing John Williams score that uses shushing sounds and finger snaps in place of his normal bombast, we realize we are in unusual territory for a Spielberg film. Right away, the theme of mistaken identity is introduced courtesy of a "To Tell The Truth" clip with host Joe Garagiola giving us three Frank Abagnales to choose from. We think we know which one he is, but we don't know as much as we think.

"You know why the Yankees always win?" asks Frank's father, Frank Sr. (Christopher Walken). "It's because the other team can't stop staring at those damn pinstripes." Walken, like Spielberg, works against audience expectations. Sure, he's a criminal, much what we expect from Walken, but he's got a good heart and a beguiling innocence. He believes in the American dream, even if he cons innocent ladies with phony jewelry to get what he wants. Ultimately he's a victim, and a lesson to his son about why the straight and narrow isn't the way to go.

DeCaprio gives a solid, impressive performance, the best I've seen from him, playing a consummate conman who succeeds because he believes his cons as much as his victims. He finds the drama in his character, but also the comedy, in a film that shows Spielberg can be funny even when he involves us in a dramatic story. As we watch him fake his way aboard a cockpit, in an operating room, and even in a bedroom with an expensive callgirl played by Jennifer Garner, we shake our heads at what he gets away with but smile because he's succeeding.

The film also benefits from an immersive sense of the period in which it is set. Williams' score, along with the costumes and set design, present us with a view of the 1960s in its more sophisticated adult form, with Dusty Springfield and Frank Sinatra providing the music rather than the pop and rock acts we think of when we think of the time.

Does "Catch Me If You Can" go on longer than it should? Yes, I think tougher editing would have made it better. But I don't miss the mawkish attempts at uplift that pock Spielberg's lesser work, and the few poignant moments Spielberg throws in amid Abagnale's ruses ring true, especially a moment involving Frank and a little girl at a window near the end of the film that only Spielberg would try to get away with, because he can and does.

No, this is not a great film, just a very good one that might have slipped past a few people on its first release, as it did me. But give "Catch Me If You Can" a chance, and you may find this as a con you not only enjoy being taken by, but wish to experience again just to see how the masters, Abagnale and Spielberg, make their plays.
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Good popcorn movie
j_mongoose24 May 2003
An all-around good movie worth seeing. The plot is pretty basic: Quick-thinking kid from a broken family that he loved. He spent the next few years playing a pilot, doctor, and lawyer. Think "Pretender" (the television series) but based on real events. The surprise was the unique relationship of the FBI agent and the con-man in their cat-and-mouse chase they have over the years around the globe. An engaging film that you are curious to see how it ends. That goes even for my girlfriend who stayed awake for the entire movie because she was captivated by it [Note: she has slept thru "Gladiator", "Shakespeare in Love", "Elizabeth", and the "Fellowship of the Ring" because they (apparently) didn't peak her interest]. So if your date is the discriminating-type, he/she should be able to sit through this movie and enjoy it.
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Caught me
tomsview13 May 2014
One thing is for sure, Steven Spielberg has an amazing range.

He made this engaging movie in a five-year period that included "A.I. Artificial Intelligence", "Minority Report", "The Terminal", "War of the Worlds" and "Munich".

Set in the early 60's, the movie tells the story of Frank Abignale (Leo DiCaprio) and how he impersonated an airline pilot, a secret agent, a doctor and finally a county prosecutor before he was 21-years old. Unfortunately, he also made a lot of money passing bad cheques. This brought him to the attention of Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), an FBI bank fraud agent who pursues him relentlessly across the United States and finally to France.

The pursuit becomes a personal contest between them, and although a rapport develops, it is still a high stakes game. However, the film has a surprising outcome; the perfect close to a movie that is enjoyable on many levels.

It's a long movie but it doesn't outstay its welcome, Spielberg gives the movie a light touch, and demonstrates a genuine sense of comic timing comparable to a John Hughes, a Frank Oz or maybe even a Preston Sturges.

Although not necessarily a comedy, the film is studded with genuinely funny moments, much of it generated by Frank's sheer audacity. There are a number of scenes where Spielberg holds back the punchline, we can fill it in for ourselves such as Frank's knock knock joke or when Jennifer Garner as the high class call girl gives Frank $400 in change when he signs over his homemade pay cheque to her - we know something she doesn't.

Between them, DiCaprio, Hanks and Spielberg make every bit of business work without losing sight of the story, which promises inevitable tragedy for Frank.

There is a serious side to the story. It tells how Frank is at first dislocated by his parent's financial troubles and then shattered by their breakup. He is also affected by the behaviour of his father, Frank Abagnale, Snr, (Christopher Walken) who seems to believe that image is more important than reality. These forces conspire to push Frank into pretending he is something he isn't.

The film also reflects a more naive time as far as security at airports and banks is concerned, Frank capitalises on people's innate respect for professions and institutions, but his actions hurt people, not least himself.

Of course today, Frank would probably have to perpetuate his scams online, but the anonymity of the Internet doesn't require the amount of chutzpah that Frank shows as he stands at the counter in his pilot's uniform to cash his rubbery cheques, or "concurs" with his fellow physicians when posing as the head of emergency at a hospital. It's that element of daring that makes Frank's crimes entertaining rather than despicable.

I have seen this film quite a few times, and like the best movies, the reunion is always rewarding.
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How meaningful the relation between parents to their children
rony-790-33991914 February 2014
Everyone see movie and try to find out a part of stories that match their own, I mean personal life. Some stories more or less similar their personal experience. There are something inside of everyone that can not be reveal for some social reason. This thing and whatever it is like pain, past, situation, dream, mistakes all that you can not tell to someone makes you alone. You have everything around you that can make you happy related to material. But the thing inside of you makes you condemn. Because you can not say it out loud to others to accept. It is very hard to tolerate to bear. You know a simple incident could happen to many of you but you can't confess or sometime hide. When you find the similar thing also happen to someone else then you will find that it's not only you there are someone else who are like you. It seems like someone share your burden and feel much better. The story of the movie tell you that you are not alone and of-course teaches you not to take a role of the same mistake. The effect of the relation between parent on their children is very meaningful. It motivate your children.It's my personal aspect of seeing movies.
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A Great Film
reissd24 December 2013
Catch Me if You Can is a fast-past adventure, but a major departure from Spielberg's usual films involving dinosaurs and aliens. Spielberg shows in this film that he is more than capable of creating an entertaining film without the use of expensive special effects. The film is a biographical true crime film depicting the life of conman and counterfeiter, Frank Abagnale. As a teenager, Abagnale began a crime spree that would result in him cashing over $2.5 million in fraudulent checks and take on the false identities of a pilot, pediatrician, lawyer and college professor. In the film, Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) begins his crime spree after his parent's divorce. When he is faced with deciding which parent will retain custody he decides to run away. Throughout the film, Abagnale uses various identities including that of a pilot, doctor, and lawyer to facilitate his check cashing schemes. It's clear that Abagnale hopes that with enough money he can somehow reunite his separated parents. Throughout the narrative, Abagnale is hounded by FBI agent, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), who grows a begrudging respect for the young con artist. The development of their relationship is very believable and adds a lot of depth to the overall narrative of the story. Leonardo DiCaprio masterfully takes on the challenging role of Abagnale simultaneously illustrating to the audience Abagnale's genius (albeit misguided) and his naivety regarding his family. Christopher Walken provides great acting as Abagnale's father while Tom Hanks provides his usual great acting acumen portraying an FBI agent who becomes a father figure to the troubled Frank Abagnale. If there is one aspect of where the film fails is its failure to truly analyze the real Frank Abagnale's motives. The motivations of Abagnale are romanticized throughout the film as a young boy who naively believe he can bring his parents back together. The real Abagnale wasn't so innocent and was far more motivated by women and using his ill-gotten wealth to meet beautiful young women all over the world. This weakness is rather small and takes away none of the entertainment value that the film has to offer. This film is incredibly well acted and is a rare true crime film that deviates from the expected blood and gore of the drama usual of the genre.
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Scorcese is obviously not the only one Dicaprio can hit a home run for!
thekyles9927 October 2010
Finally sat down and watched this film starring the always awesome Leonardo Dicaprio. Great story based on actual true events revolving around the criminal career of Frank W. Abagnale (Leonardo Dicaprio) a con man who as a young boy worshipped the ground his father (Christopher Walken) walked on .His dad teaches him some lessons at a young age on how to get things for free unfortunately not knowing how far his son would run with this info. Frank's world is shattered when his parents divorce causing him to runaway and start is life of deceiving companies and people for their money, major ally from a prestigious airline. Frank learns the art of deception in the form of creating fraudulent company cheques getting it down to a science and distributing them all over various point of the globe. During his tenure he imposed as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer all the time switching identities every time the feds especially one FBI Agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) gets too close for comfort. Enjoy the cat and mouse game as Hanratty chases Abagnale all over the world.
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Worth catching
Stampsfightclub23 March 2010
Frank Abagnale Jr. (Di Caprio) makes his way across America posing as a lawyer, a pilot, a doctor whilst all the while being chased by Carl Hanratty (Hanks) Based on the true story of conman Frank Abagnale Jr. this ambitious crime caper is a turn for excitement harmless joy that encodes spurts of comedy in a dramatic construction of a man looking for a sense of mayhem and wealth, to live in his father's footsteps.

Flowing with the energy you would expect from a Spielberg project alongside Oscar nominated scorer John Williams you would expect a ferocious appetite of crime shindigs and sharp tantalising scenarios across America and for the most part we see a relaxing and remarkable story that is hard and equally remarkable to believe really happened.

Leo Di Caprio, in his first paring with Spielberg, stars as central character Frank, giving the conman an elusive personality whilst aiming to be naïve of the difficulties at home between his parents. Encoding uses of his father's charm and wit may seem corny but the resemblance between Di Caprio and Oscar nominated Christopher Walken is mirror like, giving the film a formidable consistency.

Tom Hanks, in more of a supporting role, has his moments as the stubborn and driven FBI agent determined to catch Frank. Hanks uses the character's intelligence to his advantage to make his acts seem fruitless whilst all the while maintaining a key objective. Hanks even slides in some delicious deadpan expressions, the knock knock joke in the car for one arguably one of Hanks best ever comedy moments, which is quite something given the American's CV.

The plot is the main drawback of the film's potential. Whilst the story itself is based on true events, there feels a lack of consistent believability, which is purely down to the messy structure placed upon it. Starting on a game show, it jumps back to Frank's youth, then to prison then forward to school years, then his fleeing, then forward to present and so forth and because of these Kangaroo style jumps there feels a reluctance to let us into the moment of the character and situation. We are just getting used to Frank being a pilot when the film shunts us to present day dealings and it is a real pain as if this film was portrayed in chronological order we would have had a flawless foundation for an endless chase without knowing the outcome.

Williams' score is brilliant, especially the title sequence and Oscar nominated was a truly deserved. The title sequence matches the feel of the music so poignantly we are instantly engaged and ready for the off.

The film collaborates usage of career mastery and unanswered questions to the eventual finale, that is worth catching and as mentioned, had this film gone from past to present with no flash back/forwards it would have been perfect. As it is, this is a charming often funny crime drama that is an enjoyable ride of a true story.
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An Alternative World of Torn Labels
tedg25 December 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

Yesterday, I saw the first watchable Scorsese film in decades, and the same today with Spielberg. Something weird is in the wind.

And yes, I know this isn't a `real' Spielberg movie and that he only stepped in after paging through a half dozen directors, and only to protect his investment as a producer, and only because he has no real project underway. Still, I'm surprised. The compact Spielberg usually demands of the viewer is that in return for allowing him to turn us into children, he will expertly push children's buttons. He has been consistent in this even as he plowed through `serious' matters of war and holocaust. All are steeped in juvenile sentimentality. His recent `AI' and `Minority' were solid attempts to escape himself. After all, he knows he will not be remembered well and wants to be before he dies.

So even though this is something he stepped into late, I count it as a solid victory for the pressures from his peers to make a real movie, with an intelligent stance. He does. Its not a great movie, but it has smarts. And it is relatively original.

The first thing is how he adopts the notion of making the film itself a character. Lynch did this first (to my knowledge) with `Velvet.' Most recently, Haynes did so with `Far from Heaven,' where the dynamics of the story occur not in reality but in the artificial reality of films of the era. So the limits of `society' were the action of the film as a force within the drama. So too here -- to denote this we have the colors of the stock of the era, we have the very air of the film world invading as smoke. And we have the director asking the actors to discard modern irony and act as if they were Michael Caine in the early seventies. `Pleasantville' was another in this line -- the production designer is from that project.

The film is set up as a reverse con. We know in the first couple minutes what he did and how the con ends. The traditional con story is a film within a film, which gives the opportunity to make the inner film the character as already noted. It is a clever idea that only could be conceived by someone intimate with shaping film. It makes the outer film more genuine by making the inner one more counterfeit.

Then we have the actors. The con artist is the most sought after role in all filmdom because the actor plays a character who is acting, something that allows them to exploit their own experience (often the only real experience these stunted lives have). Decaprio doesn't quite rise to the challenge. We've had one wondrous performance in `Gilbert Grape,' and another intelligent turn in Luhrmann's `Romeo.' Nothing of note since except occasional competence. He is competent here. Hanks gives us his regular routine: he's sinking fast, turning into another Morgan Freeman.

The real acting here is by Walken, who exceeds Spielberg's shaping of the project so much that we suspect no one really noticed it made the others look bad. Amy Adams has a passion that Leo lost long ago.

Incidentally, we have another filmworld jab at the French here. They really do have thuggish police who brutalize Americans when possible. Film `police' too. And the Mom in real life was a real tart who played a dumb soldier for US citizenship then sold herself to a higher bidder. But why introduce all this without developing it? The man in charge here has a special ax to grind, I think.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 4: Worth watching.
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Another winner from Tom Hanks
davideo-29 February 2003
STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs

Being probably one of the finest acting talents in Hollywood,it would be hard to refuse to watch any film headbilling Tom Hanks as one of the main stars.While it probably wouldn't be any direct guarantee of the actual film's quality,it would at least always ensure a strong,forceful central performance.And the main,most driving point about Catch Me If You Can is the performances from the leads Hanks and Leornardo Di Caprio,which are amazing.Steven Spielberg's direction is actually a little wayward and the plot does seem a tad unbelievable,but it is a true story so who are we to argue?A thoroughly absorbing and worthwhile picture.****
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