New Rochelle, the 1960s. High schooler Frank Abagnale Jr. idolizes his father, who's in trouble with the IRS. When his parents separate, Frank runs away to Manhattan with $25 in his checking account, vowing to regain dad's losses and get his parents back together. Just a few years later, the FBI tracks him down in France; he's extradited, tried, and jailed for passing more than $4,000,000 in bad checks. Along the way, he's posed as a Pan Am pilot, a pediatrician, and an attorney. And, from nearly the beginning of this life of crime, he's been pursued by a dour FBI agent, Carl Hanratty. What starts as cat and mouse becomes something akin to father and son. Written by
In this film, Leonardo DiCaprio pretends to be a co-pilot for Pan-Am and for his first flight he cons TWA, which was founded by Howard Hughes. Two years later, coincidentally, Leo portrayed Howard Hughes in The Aviator (2004). See more »
When Frank impersonates the substitute French teacher in order to take revenge on the bullies who bumped into him in the hallway, he shouts for order in the classroom then asks which chapter the previous teacher left off on. Frank Jr then opens his book up to the correct page, and after embarrassing one of the bullies by making him read out loud, he begins to walk to the front of the room. When he is in the aisle in the classroom, he holds the book open as he walks. After the shot changes angle and distance, he completes his walk to the front of the room, but the book is now closed. See more »
Frank Abagnale Sr.:
Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse, wouldn't quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out. Gentlemen, as of this moment, I am that second mouse.
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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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