Erica H. from FORT BRAGG, CA Reviewed on 5/19/2014...
The fact that this is based on a true story only elevates what a great story/ movie it is. DiCaprio is able to pull-off a chameleon-like character - switching from suave to child-like terror but Tom Hanks, as the government bureaucrat gumshoe, is actually the more tragic figure. I watched this movie several times to enjoy the brilliant acting.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 3/7/2011...
Pretensious bs best describes this film. A boring waste of time. Bad acting and a cliched filled mess make this one of the worst movies I've seen in ages. Why the hell did Spielberg think this crap was worth making is beyond my ability to comprehend.
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jean C. (Ragamuffin) Reviewed on 6/15/2010...
This was the most exciting and adventurous movie we have seen so far. It was so cool how he managed to change his role so easily and it kept you on edge. One of the all time best movies for us! This movie for us has become a great classic and always a good one to watch over and over again. All actors and actresses were fantastic in this movie. Loved how smart he actually was.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Nancy N. from DEERFIELD, NH Reviewed on 9/2/2009...
This story is true - and unbelievable - and shows us that our minds make our worlds.
I've seen this several times and like it every time !
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Anthia R. (hepburn05) from CANBY, CA Reviewed on 6/22/2009...
Good acting and based on a true story. Really enjoyed it.
3 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Immensely Entertaining. Great Performances. -And True Too!
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 05/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Catch Me If You Can" is the story of real-life con artist Frank Abagnale, Jr. who, in the late 1960's and early 1970's, when he was between the ages of 16 and 21, wrote $2.5 million dollars in bad checks and became one of the most notorious con men in American history. The film follows Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) from his early high school pranks to his check-printing operation and eventual capture in France five years later. FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) doggedly pursues Frank as he successfully impersonates an air line pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer, living the life of a playboy and cashing ingeniously forged checks all along the way."Catch Me If You Can" was directed by Stephen Spielberg and, along with Minority Report, signifies a revival of Spielberg's directing talent after fifteen years of mediocre-at-best filmmaking. This film is fairly light fare, but it is immensely entertaining, funny, touching, and impeccably cast. Frank Abagnale, Jr. is a perfect fit for Leonardo DiCaprio, and is probably his best role since "What's Eating Gilbert Grape". Tom Hanks seems to have abandoned his typically saccharine roles this year -much to his credit- and puts in a wonderful performance as sympathetic geeky G-man Carl Hanratty (along with a terrific showing in "Road to Perdition"). Christopher Walken was the only actor to receive an Oscar nomination for "Catch Me If You Can". His performance as Frank Abagnale, Sr., our protagonist's down-and-out father, deserved the honor. Frank Jr.'s awkward combination of admiration and pity for his father seems to have been a key motivator in his illustrious life of crime, and Christopher Walken really helps us understand that.The real Frank Abagnale, Jr. is a successful security consultant these days, protecting businesses from white collar crime. He cooperated with and bascially likes the film, but is quick to point out that "Catch Me If You Can" is based on his biography of the same name that was written about 25 years ago. Mr. Abagnale says that some aspects of his experiences were exaggerated in that book and some have been altered for the movie as well. Whatever the inaccuracies, Frank Abagnale, Jr.'s immense intelligence, ambition, and guts are the most striking elements of the film. It's the rarity of finding all of these qualities in such abundance in one person that make Frank's character so fascinating, and make him one of cinema's most lovable antiheroes.I highly recommend "Catch Me If You Can" for its great performances and its extremely entertaining story of an ingenious con man and his noble pursuer...made all the more interesting because the story is largely true."
Spielberg sends us a message....
L. Quido | Tampa, FL United States | 01/08/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"and the message is, "Sometimes, I'm gonna do a film where I just try to entertain you". And entertain it did! Reviewers of the movie are at odds, either giving it high praise, when they recognize that it is just there to entertain the filmgoer, or calling it dreadful, when they expect every Spielberg movie to be a momentous event of special effects and storytelling. "Catch Me If You Can" is based on the life of a con man, who pulled his crimes as a teenager, and then reformed for the rest of a long life. The story engrosses the watcher, and Spielberg gives the film a light touch, a terrific cast, and fits it all into the eerily real culture of the 60's everyday life with costumes (wardrobe is outstanding), period sets, and a general feeling of wonder (Remember "The Wonder Years"?) that was the true 60's feel, devoid of momentous political events and the inevitable strife caused by war. DiCaprio is featured as an odd duck, an obsessive compulsive trapped in escalating acts designed to make his father feel that his life is successful. He shows some great naivete, especially in the scene criticized by many with Jennifer Garner, and displays the genial and engaging manner that the real Frank must have had to get away with what he did. Hanks is another believable work obsessive compulsive who chases him down and forms the nucleus of the nonviolent criminal teams that solve financial crimes in this country every day. Bringing Frank to the FBI feels a little unbelievable, but it DID happen, and it was based on Hanratty's understanding and faith in not only the genius, but also the need of Abagnale to outsmart the world. I'm sure it was a huge
financial success for law enforcement in the real world. Many seem surprised at the fine flair that Christopher Walken displays as Frank's father, but Walken's career is full of moments like these, where he has flashes of a true craftsman, then does an over the top performance in his next role...kind of a roller coaster ride with this fine performer, you never know what to expect. The audience clapped in the film I saw, enjoyed the music, had a great time...now that's entertainment! Catch Me If You Can blends light comedy with a background edge of why things turn out the way they do when families dissolve. It may be the most entertaining movie (short of My Big Fat Greek Wedding) of 2002; and although it doesn't deserve to win any awards....
sometimes Spielberg should just entertain us! He's earned it."
A Throwback to an Earlier Time
Jason N. Mical | Bellevue, WA, USA | 01/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Steven Spielburg's second 2002 film is a dinosaur. It's an anachronism. It belongs to the time period in which it's set, a more innocent America where Charles Manson had not brought violence to the wealthy and Vietnam was still a winnable (and profitable) war. It's Catch Me If You Can, the story of con man Frank Abagnale, Jr., who may very well be the world's foremost expert on forgery and fraud. If that doesn't sound like a complimentary introduction, fear not; Catch Me a film's film and a throwback to the cinema of yore, when audio and video combined to make an experience rather than an assault on the senses.Imagine a mixture of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and To Catch a Thief. Catch Me has the slow pacing and careful cinematography of Hitchcock at his finest, and Spielburg has forsaken his recent effects-laden shots for straightforward storytelling. Every individual shot is deliberately framed, with a care for detail not usually seen outside of a Lynch film. There are no explosions to distract the eye from character interaction, and the overall effect is that of an effortless and immersive film.Leonardo DiCaprio, in one of his best (and best-developed) roles since Gilbert Grape, plays Frank Abagnale, a teenager growing up outside of New York. His father (played by Christopher Walken) is being investigated by the IRS, and Frank Jr.'s idyllic American life full of apple pie, WWII vets marrying their sweethearts, and large-finned cars is about to come crashing down. When he finds that what he's left with isn't to his liking, Frank embarks on a career of impersonation and fraud. He passes himself off as an airline pilot, a Harvard-educated doctor, an assistant prosecutor, and a recruiter for an airline stewardess program - all before his 19th birthday. When he starts passing bad checks - to the tune of four million dollars - he attracts the attention of straightlaced FBI Agent Tom Hanks, who manages to avoid his Hanks persona in favor of actual acting.Catch Me is a character story, told through a series of events in Abagnale's life. It's funny at times, but the portrait that develops is of a sad, lonely, and almost pathetic child who runs and hides because he doesn't know what else to do. Hanks is like an automaton, relentless in his pursuit, and his grip on Abagnale only grows tighter with each narrow escape. It's not a deep meditation on a philosophical subject, or an artistic look at some overused postmodern cliché. Catch Me aims to entertain, nothing more, and succeeds admirably.Without effects, a blazing soundtrack, and fast-paced action to drive the story, Spielburg ekes the most from Hanks and DiCaprio without resorting to hammy overacting. This, combined with the easygoing plot and fantastic camerawork, lend Catch Me an unusual amount of verisimilitude for a modern film: it's something to lose yourself in, where you no longer think "I'm watching a movie." That is an accomplishment worthy of note.Final Grade: A-"
wvu96 | Herndon, VA United States | 07/18/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Ok, I know it is a movie, but really, do you have to drop all the real facts? Catch Me If You Can is based on the true life story of Frank Abagnale. It does describe certain parts of Frank Abagnale's journey as a medical resident, CEO, lawyer, and airplane co-pilot, but I guess they thought that they needed another story line so they created the FBI character that chases him. Well, in truth, he was not caught by the FBI (he was caught by police overseas) and the relationship and engagement that takes up a significant portion of the move never actually got that far in real life. Even with the baseless story leaps, the movie is well acted and very colorful.The DVD is packed with extras, even a track of the DVD entitled Frank Abagnale: Between Reality and Fiction."
You have to "catch" this one
Ken | Olathe, KS, U.S.A. | 03/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having seen Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes in The Aviator(a role which I think will win him an Oscar), I checked out the DVD of Catch Me If You Can. Leo plays con artist Frank Abagnale Jr., who in the '60s successfully passed himself off as several other people, among them airline pilot Frank Taylor, Secret Service man Barry Allen, and doctor-turned-lawyer Frank Connors, and wrote fraudulent checks totaling millions of dollars while he was using his various identities. As Frank Connors, Frank Abagnale Jr. was a doctor, a prosecutor, and an Attorney General candidate for the state of Louisiana. As the movie(which is based on Frank's memoirs) shows, Frank pulled off his act so successfully that it was four years before the FBI caught him. He was finally apprehended in France, where the bogus checks were printed. After getting out of prison, as seen in the movie, Frank went to work for the FBI's Check Fraud Unit, where his supervisor was Carl Hanratty, the FBI agent who pursued him. Tom Hanks plays Carl, the FBI man, and Christopher Walken has a fine performance as Frank's father, Frank Sr. Martin Sheen also is solid, playing Frank's future father-in-law, Roger Strong. Frank proposes to Roger's daughter, Brenda(Amy Adams), whom he meets while working as a doctor, but Frank abruptly runs out of his engagement party when he realizes that Carl and his fellow FBI agents are after him and that he couldn't get rid of his Frank Connors identity if he stayed married. Soon after, when he's conducting another ruse, this time training stewardesses, Frank flies off to France, where Carl catches him. In the movie, Frank escapes briefly after Carl brings him back to New York, but he is again caught, this time outside his mother's home. The movie doesn't give us just one reason why Frank turned to crime, but we get a few clues: his dad's problems with the IRS, the breakup of his parents' marriage(which resulted in his running away from home), and his need to make money really fast in order to survive. Also, Frank's mom, Paula(Nathalie Baye), as depicted in the film, did a little manipulating herself--for instance, she told Carl that she'd help pay the checks Frank had bounced. The movie also is a redemption story. Carl, who is wrestling with his own personal problems(his own divorce, not having seen his daughter), becomes a sort of father figure to Frank--and, as stated earlier, he ends up being Frank's supervisor at the FBI. While Carl uses a ruse to get Frank to open up to him(giving Frank permission to call his father while, unknown to both of them, Frank Sr. had died), he eventually earns Frank's trust. As the ending shows, in real life Frank helped the FBI crack numerous check fraud cases and formed a lasting friendship with Carl. To the impatient movie watcher, Catch Me If You Can seems overly long(two hours and 21 minutes, not including the extras), which I think drags it down to "only" a four-star rating. However, I think producer-director Steven Spielberg wanted the movie to be a character study of Frank and not just another Star Wars-type action flick--and in this regard, he does well. Leo's portrayal of Frank--the charming con artist who at the same time is very human--is believable, and Tom Hanks gives a commanding yet sympathetic performance as Carl. The bonus material on the second disc is excellent. In addition to interviews with cast and crew members and the story of how the movie was made, the material includes Frank Abagnale Jr.'s own discussion of how he became a con artist, his various occupations, how he was apprehended, and how his work with the FBI influenced banking practices. Frank himself served as a consultant on this movie, and his input helped give the film its early '60s authenticity. This movie has a great story with some interesting characters. You have to "catch" it."