Catch Me If You Can
***.3 GM
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Nathalie Baye, Amy Adams, Martin Sheen


CriminyPete Awards

Good Movie Archive

Bad Movie Archive

The eGroup

Message Board


So we've got a time-disjointed wacky chase caper movie where Leo DiCaprio is supposed to still be 17 years old. Okay.

The story is thus: DiCaprio is Frank Abagnale Jr., a kid in the 1960s who loves his parents and is inspired by his dad's (Walken) constant tom foolery in his battle with the IRS, so much so that when his parents actually get a divorce after they lose a buttload of money, he runs away to avoid having to choose between them. Luckily, he's got a solid background in lying and huckstering, not to mention a startlingly anal attention to detail, so he starts masquerading as a pilot, among other professions, and passing zillions of bucks in fraudulent checks, which brings him to the attention of FBI check-fraud badass Carl Hanratty (Hanks), who isn't big on nonsense and who's getting outsmarted by this wunderkind at every turn.

It's a nifty flick, with neat little twists and turns here and there and some fun to be had. Leo, while not really looking like a teenager anymore, does a decent job portraying the loneliness, paranoia and desperation that comes with living a life of lies on the run for three years, especially as a kid who's just trying to figure out a way to get his parents back together and not really grasping the 'irreconcilable differences' aspect of things. Good Ol' Hanks gets to try on a Boston accent and does a pretty good job with it, although everytime he spoke, it tended to give a feeling of "Hey, Tom Hanks is doing an accent" rather than seeming like a dude from Boston. Walken is enjoyable as always as Frank Abagnale, Sr., a guy trying to finagle his way around legal issues and taking a great amount of secret pride when his son succeeds masterfully at things he's only dreamed of playing at. Amy Adams gives a strong, convincing performance as the unsuspecting Georgia girl that falls for the dreamy "Dr. Frank Connors" and winds up engaged to Frank, who takes it upon himself to heal the rifts between his new fiancee and her strict New Orleans parents, helping him segue into trying his hand at lawyering.

The best scene in the film is a small sequence in which Frank's jet-setting life is contrasted with Carl accidentally turning his white shirts pink at the laundromat - a great depiction of why one lifestyle is alluring and the other just ain't. A close second would have to be near the end, with long-haired freshly-escaped Frank outside his mother's window, discovering he has a little half-sister and seeing his mother for the first time in years sitting quietly in her home, while the reflection of a horde of police cars surrounds him from behind - just a great image. Also pretty cool are the opening credits, done in a highly 60s-styled animation, but it was a little distressing that the cartoon also pretty much exposed the possible surprises by showing the chase pretty closely. One cound argue that the actual mechanics of what Frank masquerades as aren't the focus of the film as much as his reasons for doing all of this and reactions to living this way, but c'mon - it's a wacky chase caper movie. A little suspense is called for. Steven Spielberg decided not to go whole hog on the suspense angle, though, by peppering post-capture scenes in throughout the film.

Ah, well. It's still pretty fascinating, especially what with it bein' all true and shit, too.

Back to CriminyPete.Com Knee Jerk Spoilers