The story of Frank Abagnale Jr., before his 19th birthday, successfully forged millions of dollars' worth of checks while posing as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor, and legal prosecutor as a seasoned and dedicated FBI agent pursues him.
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
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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