23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2003
"Catch Me if You Can" is a smart and occasionally funny film that shows you that sometimes the most outrageous stories are the ones that are true. Yes, this was inspired by a true story. How close to the facts it stayed is unknown to me, but what is known is that this was a film that kept me intrigued and in awe from start to finish.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale Jr.; a young and bright kid who can con with the best of them. How he got there is that he has learned from the best, his father. Things get shaky when his parents are undergoing investigations from the IRS and his mother wants to get a divorce. Not knowing what else to do, Frank runs away and tries his best to make it on his own by doing what he does best: con. Posing in many different occupations such as an airline co-pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer triggers a cat/mouse chase conducted by FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Hanks). The movie keeps your attention throughout and leaves you unsure of what's going to happen next.
I loved everything about this movie. It was ten times better than I thought it would've been, mainly because the trailers do mislead you (as many have said) into thinking that you're going to be seeing a whacky chase comedy with all sorts of shenanigans and mishaps. Well, yes it is a funny movie at times, but I don't think I would really label it as a comedy. A lot of the things that happen in the film are actually heartbreaking and sad. So be aware of that when you decide to buy a ticket for this one.
The performances were more than ingenious. Tom Hanks is as great as ever and really takes his role to the limit while DiCaprio also proves to be a fabulous actor as well, and also is able to show us there is life after "Titanic." Everybody else was really great in the film, especially the great Christopher Walken as Frank Abagnale Sr. (your eyes never leave his sight when he's on the screen).
Stephen Spielberg does an outstanding job of orchestrating this wildly unpredictable film. It doesn't always have to be sci-fi this or aliens-that when it comes to his films. He's able to expose the heart of the story with ease in this film, not cheating us out of anything at any point during the entire movie. I wished he'd do more films like these because he's really good at it. Although I do love some of sci-fi films like "Minority Report," I think his more realistic films like "Saving Private Ryan" and "Schindler's List" is when you get to see his true and unique talent at its absolute best.
"Catch Me if You Can" was a pleasant surprise for me. I did not plan on liking it as much as I did, which in itself is a pretty neat quality of the film. Just remember that this isn't supposed to be a "dead-on" comedy. There are funny and amusing moments, but some of the things you will see are actually sad in some cases. Still, this is a very well-made movie with top notch performances that definitely deserve recognition. Very worth your time.
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Catch Me If You Can tells the incredible true story of a teenage runaway who finds himself alone in the big city and in need of a job. He uses his wit and creativity to live the good life, successfully posing as an airline pilot, physician, and lawyer, and cashing millions of dollars in bad checks, all before he is 18 years old!
Leonardo DiCaprio is utterly convincing as teenager Frank Abagnale, Jr. His considerable poise and confidence charm us immediately. Tom Hanks plays the stalwart FBI agent who chases Frank for years, forming an odd bond with him. Christopher Walken plays Frank's troubled father in his typically eerie style. There are many surprises and some chuckles along the way. This is a very enjoyable film about an amazingly resourceful young man. Enjoy!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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Steven Spielberg's films based on true stories are the films of his that have had most appeal to me. Even though I'm a huge fan of Saving Private Ryan and Close Encounters, its the likes of Schindler's List, Munich, and even Lincoln that have piqued my interest. Catch Me If You Can again focuses on a real life individual, one with a colorful story to tell.
Frank Abagnale Jnr became a wanted man after he committed huge amounts of check fraud during an FBI manhunt that lasted nearly six years. Abagnale is played here by a very youthful looking Leonardo DiCaprio who is just as convincing as the 15 year old Frank as he is as the 21 year old despite being almost 28.
His life of crime began when he ran away from home after the news that his parents were due to divorce. He has a natural talent for deception and soon finds his way as a con artist. Specializing in check fraud, he's soon on the radar of the FBI, led by Tom Hanks's Carl Hanratty, a tenacious law enforcement officer dedicated to his job. From then Frank morphs from one identity to another as he first racks up millions of dollars worth of fraud as a fake Pan-Am pilot.
If this story wasn't true it would be hard to believe, but somehow the youngster stays one step ahead of the law as he again changes identities to play a doctor and then a lawyer. DiCaprio obviously has a ball playing the man of many guises and with a strong support cast that includes Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, and the lovely Amy Adams, Spielberg set about creating an authentic sixties environment for the story to play out. There's also a sting in the tail here which confirms just how influential Frank Abagnale Jnr was in the world of check fraud, and his subsequent work with the FBI says it all.
DiCaprio holds his own here very well against Hank's more seasoned performer. There's some good scenes between the two and with Spielberg giving the pacy script the chance to flourish, it's another period piece that captures the time perfectly. A playful film with strong performances all around, I'd like to have seen how original choice for Hanratty (James Gandolfini) would have fared.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
When his parents announce they are going to divorce, Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) runs away from home and embarks on a career as a conman. Originally only armed with some blank cheques, Frank cons his way into being airline pilot, a doctor, a lawyer and into a couple of million dollars. But hot on his trail is dogged FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks).
Frank Abagnale Jr. a real guy, who did these real things. Sure there's some liberties taken with the adaptation from Abagnale Jr's own book, but regardless it's a fascinating story that transfers very well to the screen. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film is perhaps a touch overlong as he slots in an on going father/son relationship that didn't happen, a classic broken home theme close to his heart of course. But this is no popcorn fodder piece. It's a black comedy that's tender at times but also also rather moving, even as the humour starts to kick in, we get plenty of reminders that Frank is running not just from the law, but also his unhappy past. There's no shirking from some of the darker aspects in the tale too. Infidelity, abortion and parental pressure all show their faces, never mind the troubling point of airline security eh!.
Clocking in as it does at over two hours, the plot and its little thematics required the highest calibre of acting talent to keep the audience interested. Here's Spielberg's trump card. A fine ensemble gather and reward the bearded one with some of their best work. Certainly DiCaprio hasn't been this good since Titanic, while Hanks continues to live up to the Jimmy Stewart of his generation tag with another, yet different, everyman performance. As for Christopher Walken as Frank Abagnale Senior, well, get the hankies ready for you will have to have been cut from granite to not let Walken pull your emotional strings. Good support comes from Martin Sheen & Amy Adams, while Jennifer Garner pops in for a sultry and sensual little cameo.
A great story is given exceptional treatment by some of Hollywood's biggest hitters. Score! 8/10
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Based on a true story, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN provides a congenial theater outing.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale, Jr., who, between the ages of 16 and 19, successfully impersonated an airline pilot, a physician, and a lawyer. In the process, he passed phony checks totaling millions of dollars. Tom Hanks plays Carl Hanratty, the nerdy FBI agent out to bust young Frank.
This is probably the best acting performance by DiCaprio since TITANIC, which isn't saying much, and Hanks has done better. However, both actors apparently had a lot of fun with their roles here, and it's that energy that makes CATCH ME IF YOU CAN a film worth watching. Also, Christopher Walken is wonderful as the enigmatic Frank Abagnale, Sr., whose business and marriage is ruined by the IRS, which is pursuing him for reasons left largely unspecified. And, while it was never clear to me whether the Old Man clearly understood the extent of his son's mischief, the occasional sly grin and whisper in the ear seemed to indicate that he admired and envied his boy's larcenous spirit and adventurous lifestyle.
This film is a flight into nostalgia for those of us old enough to remember the days when commercial air travel still had élan, when pilots were heroes, and when the politically correct "cabin attendants" were elegant "stewardesses". There's one comic scene involving Frank, Carl and an in-flight chocolate éclair that pointedly recalls that coach fare used to be more than an apple and bagged peanuts.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN drags a little by the end, and the lesson of the epilog might be that crime pays. However, it's a reminder that fact can be genuinely more entertaining than FX-laden fiction.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2003
Catch Me If You Can is a great movie. I would easily give it 5 stars, but it is not quite there, though very nearly.
Steven Spielberg directs this incredible-but-true story of the young life of Frank Abagnale Jr. Following the traumatic divorce of his beloved parents (Christopher Walken and Nathalie Baye) in the 1960s, at age sixteen Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) goes AWOL, becoming a prodigious cheque forger and impersonator of a Pan-Am pilot, a doctor and lawyer. Soon he has the FBI fraud squad on his trail, in particular dogged agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), who carries on a game of cat-and-mouse with Abagnale over a few years.
You will not be disappointed if you buy this movie. The special features on the double disc dvd are very good, and gives a great insight into the making of the film, and an interview with the real man, Frank Abagnale.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2006
“Catch me if you can” is an extremely enjoyable romp of a film that supposedly charts the brief con-man career of Frank Abagnale Jr who between the ages of 16 and 21 not only fraudulently obtained millions of dollars but conned his way into becoming an airline pilot, a doctor and a lawyer. Whether the film is a totally accurate portrayal of Frank’s life or not I don’t really know, and as usual with this type of film, I suspect that some of the action has been exaggerated to make that story that little bit more exciting. That said any adjustments that have been made are well worth it as the film is pure entertainment for the duration.
Frank Abagnale Jr is a regular high school kid although when he changes school he decides that instead of taking the lessons he will give them instead and manages to pass himself off as a supply teacher for several months before someone detects his subterfuge. Devoted to his mother and father his parents divorce hits him very hard and shortly afterwards he runs away from home armed only with the cheque book his father gave him as a birthday present.
To give away much more of the plot and the escapades that Frank gets up to would be unfair and I’ll just say that if it wasn’t for the fact that the film is based on fact you would dismiss the possibilities of any of the action happen as sheer impossibility.
The film is almost perfectly cast, Leonardo DiCaprio is great as the charming Frank Jr and although his crimes are wrong and at times downright dangerous you can help but fall for the man’s charms. Tom Hanks is great value as the FBI agent sent to track Frank down and although his performance is more subdued. Mention also for the very fine Christopher Walken who puts in a most sympathetic performance as Frank’s father and for which he was rightly nominated for an Oscar and won a BAFTA.
The other great aspect of the film is the wonderful sights, sounds and fashions of the 1960s. The classy glamour of the airline industry is wonderful reproduced and is a joy to watch.
All in all a great classy movie that is not only enjoyable from an acting and story point of view but will leave you wondering for days how Frank actually managed to do all of it!
on 23 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.
on 26 May 2008
Leonardo Di Caprio (Gangs of New York) stars as Frank Abagnale Jr, a young man who runs away from home and successfully becomes a con artist, getting involved in different professions whilst FBI agent Carl Hanratty tries to track him down.
Based on true events, this crime drama shows the extraordinary events of Frank Abagnale as he travels around forging cheques and becoming a teacher, a lawyer and a doctor and it is all quite remarkable that all these events really took place and is watching just for that fact.
Di Caprio is again on top form as Abagnale and does well to become accustomed to the significant central role and portrays the con artist as sophisticated, intelligent and interesting to watch and his reactions and quick witted dialogue make the character a joy to observe. The charm behind the character is very good and is also quite funny, giving the plot and the protagonist depth and an emotion we can identify with.
Tom Hanks (Cast away) is equally impressive as Carl Hanratty, the FBI agent who is trying to track Abagnale down. Sensitive and intelligent, Hanratty has a massive task on his hand to catch the con artist, and the film justifies the crime and thriller genre by anchoring a strong meaning between the two protagonists. I personally would have liked to see more of Hanratty in the film, given the character more depth but the fact that we just see the professional side of the agent gives him strong realism and a less clichéd approach.
The plot and the dialogue are excellent, very consistent. The film does take a while to get going and the use of flashbacks and jumping through time can get a bit messy but otherwise it is a sharply written crime drama with two great characters, not to mention Christopher Walken who was Oscar nominated for the portrayal of Abagnale's father and is one of the best true stories ever written for the big screen.
Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) had an easy life in New York during the 1960's. He was the only child of his parents and his father (Christopher Walkin) made a decently living from owning a store.
All that came crashing down around him when the IRS came calling demanding more money. As things got more and more dire, his mother (Nathalie Baye) filed for divorce. Suddenly forced to choose between his two parents, Frank took off instead with the clothes on his back and a checkbook with a balance of $25.
Even though Frank was only 16 at the time, he was also brilliant. He quickly figured out how to cash checks for more then he had. That led to forging checks, which led to taking jobs as a pilot, a lawyer and a doctor, all without even a high school diploma.
But things weren't all fun and games. FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) was on his tale. Can Carl catch Frank?
The movie starts out rather slowly. Watching Frank begin his life of crime is only interesting for a little while, but it takes much longer then it should.
Once Carl really gets into the picture and the two start their cat and mouse games the tension really picks up. And it is hard to know who to root for, Frank to get away or Carl to capture him. The two actors do a great job of making their characters real and sympathetic.
The movie is based on a true story. Since this is Hollywood, that means take with a shaker of salt. But it is still interesting to think of a teen really being able to pull this off. Naturally, with the advent of computer banking and added security, he'd have to work much harder to even think of pulling all this off today.
This movie starts as a slow character study but builds into a chase movie with heart. It's not a movie to rush out and watch, but if you are interested, give it a whirl. Odds are you'll be entertained.