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Catch Me If You Can (Widescreen Two-Disc Special

A movie directed by Steven Spielberg

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And They Did

  • Jan 27, 2004
This is a generally entertaining film with lesser ambitions than comparable films such as The Great Impostor (1961) and -- at least to some extent -- Zelig (1983) and Chamelon Street (1989). Directed by Steven Spielberg, Catch Me If You Can is mostly based on the autobiography of Frank W. Abagnale, Jr., played by Leonardo DiCaprio. His performance is adequate but overshadowed by those of Christopher Walken (as Frank Sr.) and Tom Hanks (as Carl Hanratty, a character created by Spielberg and Jeff Nathanson who wrote the screenplay). Given Frank Jr.'s charm which seems natural to DiCaprio, it is easy to understand how quickly he could deceive so many different people, both in the United States and abroad. More difficult for me to understand is how Frank Jr. -- as portrayed by DiCaprio -- could sustain that deception almost indefinitely.

I just wish the film had devoted more attention to the exceptional cunning which was obviously required of Frank Jr. to devise so many ingenious strategies and tactics. For example, he recognized the benefits of having others' bank deposits credited to his own account so he devised a way by which to print slips bearing his account number. He then replaced blank deposit slips in bank branches with his own deposit slips. I also wish more attention had been devoted to examining Frank Jr.'s compulsive need to assume others' identities. Deep down, was he ashamed of his father? Was he ashamed of himself? I am also curious to know how he could betray the confidence of so many decent people and still remain so cheerful, even playful, even after he was finally apprehended. Perhaps Spielberg should be blamed for casting DiCaprio or perhaps the two of them should be blamed for a poorly developed character. In fact, other than Frank Sr. and perhaps Hanratty, none of the characters in this film is sufficiently developed. Hence the Four Star rating which includes one for the Walken and Hanks performances and another for the special features.

To repeat, Catch Me If You Can is frequently entertaining. However, after seeing it again recently, I again wondered if the real Frank Jr. could gain my confidence as easily as he did others. Probably...but DiCaprio's Frank Jr. couldn't.

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More Catch Me If You Can (2002) reviews
review by . August 24, 2008
Catch Me If You Can is one of those true story movies that achieves a rarity. It gives you a really interesting and intense film while still keeping its feet on the ground and not going overboard or off track with the initial story.    This film is based around the true life of Frank Abagnale Jr. who became known as an expert impostor, who managed to con Pan Am airlines out of millions of dollars by impersonating a pilot, a doctor and a legal prosecutor. In the movie it generally …
review by . September 10, 2003
For certain most people know CATCH ME IF YOU CAN was a huge hit, being Spielberg's biggest hit in a fair while, but what really is CATCH ME IF YOU CAN? It's the true-life story of Frank Abagnale, Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio), a successful con artist who managed to escape numerous attempts at jailing him by an FBI agent (Tom Hanks), the only person who truly understands him. Spielberg's directing is superb, making the film a very realistic one indeed; there's an extremely entertaining script by Jeff Nathanson; …
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Robert Morris ()
Ranked #168
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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About this movie


An enormously entertaining (if somewhat shallow) affair from blockbuster director Steven Spielberg. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Frank Abagnale, Jr., a dazzling young con man who spent four years impersonating an airline pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer--all before he turned 21. All the while he's pursued by a dedicated FBI agent named Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), whose dogged determination stays one step behind Abagnale's spontaneous wits. Both DiCaprio and Hanks turn in enjoyable performances and the movie has a bouncy rhythm that keeps it zipping along. However, it never gets under the surface of Frank's drive to lose himself in other identities, other than a simplistic desire to please his father (Christopher Walken, excellent as always), nor does it explore the complex mechanics of fraud with any depth. By the movie's end, it feels like one of Frank's pilot uniforms--appearance without substance.--Bret Fetzer
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Director: Steven Spielberg
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
DVD Release Date: May 6, 2003
Runtime: 141 minutes
Studio: Dreamworks Video
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First to Review

"4.1 out of 5"
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