Growing up, Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) had always looked up to his father (Christopher Walken), who had constantly blagged his way through whatever situation he had found himself in until he got into too much trouble with the IRS. When financial strains got too much for the Abagnale family however, Frank’s parents split up, and when faced with the tough decision of choosing who he would live with, he ran. On his own in the world with not much of a life to go back to, Frank thought on his feet and dealt with the situation the only way he knew how. He did what his father had taught him, only he turned it up a notch and before long he is flying planes for Pan American Airlines, taking charge of junior doctors and nurses on hospital graveyard shifts, and putting away small time criminals in court – all the while making hundreds upon thousands of dollars. One man, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) is hot on his tail, and what unfolds is one of the greatest cat and mouse chases that ever took place. And yep, this actually happened!
Catch Me If You Can is a film I started watching a couple of months ago, but never managed to finish it due to a fault the copy that I had. I was gutted because I was really enjoying it as well. However, as luck would have it, I managed to find it on the TV a couple of weeks ago, so I was able to finish watching it. At least I can say it was a film worth waiting for – this turned out to be a really fun watch, made even better by the fact that it was a true story.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance was one of the highlights of this film. In Catch Me If You Can, he is an actor playing another great pretender, and he made Abagnale really captivating to watch. Not to do DiCaprio any discredit though, but I do think he would have been an interesting character regardless of who played him. I do think DiCaprio elevated the character to even greater heights however, and I would absolutely list this as one of my favourite performances of his.
Tom Hanks is always wonderful regardless of what he’s in, but he was every part DiCaprio’s equal here as Carl Hanratty. There was real grit and determination apparent in Hanks’ performance, and you could also sense an element of desperation as he fought to convince his co-workers that fraud was a real crime. He needed the Abagnale case to prove this to people, and so you felt quite invested in his character’s story.
What I loved so much about this film was it’s story, and particularly the way it was told. The story itself was one you couldn’t make up, nor would you try to for fear of the slating it would receive for it’s implausibility. It is so amazing to think that this case actually happened all those years ago! This is exactly the kind of history I love as well, because it tells us about people you wouldn’t necessarily read about in a school textbook, yet the world wouldn’t be the way it is today without them having been. As for the way the narrative is delivered to us in this film, I found it to be quite effective how with each year that passed in the film, we were brought back to base with the Christmas phone calls. It meant that you never worried about losing your place with the plot, so you could sit back and enjoy it all the more.
All in all, this is definitely a film for you to see if you haven’t yet. Catch Me If You Can is just such a fun watch that also carries with it a little bit of history that actually really aids the film with it’s credibility. Both lead performances work to complement each other and a story that is truly riveting to watch, and also never shows any sign of where it might go with each scene that takes place. This is a film that I will be watching again in future.