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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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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
*** This review may contain 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
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 -
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