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
The opening title sequence is created by the duo Olivier Kuntzel + Florence Deygas. The "stamp style animation" lasts roughly 2 minutes 30 seconds and features silhouettes of the main characters acting out the plot of the film, even down to the smallest details. In a interview, Kuntzel + Deygas described they created this sequence by "stylistically transposing the handmade design of Saul Bass using decidedly modern means" and required that actual rubber stamps be carved out for each character featured. See more »
The Abagnales have laminate shingles on the roof of their mansion, which were not invented until the 1970s. See more »
taking into account the gravity of these crimes, your history of bold and elusive behavior, and your complete lack of respect for the laws of the United States. I have no choice but to ignore your request to be treated as a minor, and sentence you to twelve years in Atlanta's maximum security prison, and recommend strongly that you be kept in isolation for the entirety of that sentence.
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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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