Saturday, September 3, 2005

Catch Me if You Can (2002)

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, etc.
Rated PG-13, 141 minutes

“Catch Me if You Can” is largely based on the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr (DiCaprio). Amidst some family trouble, Frank runs away from home, and using his already sharp sense of swift chicanery, he “becomes” an airline pilot. He forges his paychecks, rousts a uniform out of PanAm’s uniform distributor, and so on. From there he travels all around, eventually lying his way into a job as a doctor and as a lawyer...and $4,000,000.

But hot on his trail from near the beginning is FBI agent Carl Handratty (Hanks). He’s very persistent…probably because he’s missed him in so many humiliating ways. Throughout, Frank sends correspondence to his father (Walken) and tries to reconcile him with his mother.

This is an impressive bit of storytelling. So many details are passed along through images and actions, rather than words. It flows very naturally between periods of time and settings…just well done. You’re very invested in the characters by the end.

I was charmed by Frank and his quick wits. The way he takes over class as “substitute teacher” was the perfect way to get you started. It’s a very funny scene. A lot of the movie is. It takes you through a gamut of emotions. It should be pointed out that the 2-disc DVD has a whole disc of fascinating interviews with the real Frank and other features worth the price of the set alone.


What caused me to dock this movie was the false climax…when Frank is at last apprehended (well, for the 20th time or so, but follow me) there’s a sense of relief, and the direction takes you to an end…then it continues. The ending of the movie is great, sure, but when you see that fade out, you don’t care how Frank worked his way into prominence with the government. But if I could love this movie despite despising Leonardo DiCaprio, than I think anybody could enjoy it.

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