time: 140 minutes
by Kevin Lang
Abagnale successfully impersonated a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer, and an airplane pilot, not to mention stealing well over a million dollars by cashing fraudulent checks. Tom Hanks played Agent Carl Hanratty, the FBI agent after Abagnale. He chased Abagnale around the country and eventually into France, always practically one step behind him.
Although "Catch Me If You Can" never turned into the more serious drama that I thought it would, Steven Spielberg did a commendable job in making a well-crafted film whose story kept a consistent tone while providing an interesting look at Abagnale. Spielberg gave us a sense of what may have led Abagnale to perform the crimes he did. His father, Frank Sr., had cheated the IRS, and lost their home as a result. This eventually in part led Abagnale's parents getting a divorce, and instead of choosing which parent to live with, Frank ran away from home at the age of seventeen. He soon began his new life to escape the one that had crumbled around him, out of his control.
The majority of the movie consisted of a montage of Frank's different identities, all of which he successfully pulled off without getting caught. This was perhaps the most fascinating thing about "Catch Me If You Can." That at seventeen-years-old, Abagnale was able to fool as many people as he did, even impersonating a CIA agent at one point in order to fool Hanratty himself.
The consistent and
almost unchanging tone of "Catch Me If You Can" did cause the
movie to drag a little near the end, especially because the story never
really built up to a significant climax. Yet, the resolution was satisfying
for the story that had been told, and knowing that the film was based
on a true story made it even more enjoyable as I realized that everything
that Abagnale did had actually been possible. With an enjoyable performance
by Tom Hanks as the always too serious Hanratty, "Catch Me If You
Can" was a well-made film that will leave you pleased in the end.
"Catch Me If You Can" Review written December 23, 2002, CTF.
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