Starring: Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christopher Walken
Director: Steven Spielberg
Running Time: 141 mins
Catch Me If You Can is an American film, based on the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr., about a teenager who managed to con millions of dollars’ worth against the US government by posing as a doctor, a lawyer, and Pan Am pilot.
This film really works well. Not only is it a fascinating true story, it’s an exciting chase story on a massive scale, an entertaining, comedic and often farcical film, as well as an emotionally intriguing and deep look into a bizarre character that is Frank Abagnale, Jr.
The main thing that is so brilliant about this film is how unbelievable it all is. It’s a fascinating look into an incredibly strange chain of events, and as you see this young man managing to hustle some of the most senior officials and businesses in the world, it feels totally staggering to even hear about, however that makes it all the more interesting.
Another completely unbelievable element to the story is the sheer scale of Abagnale’s whole life. Again, taking on such big individuals at such a young age is shocking enough, but the fact that this man had the audacity to commit what are presented in the film as very obvious crimes is deeply intriguing.
And then, apart from the interesting quality of the film, it’s surprisingly thrilling for a comedy-crime-drama. The whole premise is a simple chase story, and although that’s spread over two and a half hours, by the end, the stakes become so high, and everything becomes so close that it results in a nail-biting climax.
One reason for that excitement is the strange bond you develop with the character of Abagnale, who surely goes down as one of the best anti-heroes of all time. Leonardo DiCaprio does the perfect job of making him such a charming and likeable young man, that it’s impossible to resist supporting him as you go along, and seeing the whole operation unfold from mostly his perspective makes your bond with him even stronger, so when he runs into trouble, it’s all the more worrying.
Also, the strangely farcical nature of Abagnale’s crimes adds to your will to support him. It’s obvious that he’s a criminal, but the fact that he’s able to get away with these offences with such unbelievable ease that it’s actually funny makes him a whole lot more likeable, and also seeing him as just a young boy ‘wanting to have a bit of fun’, takes away any perceptions you might have of him as a criminal.
Overall, this gets an 8.2, because it is a fascinating, deep, exciting and hugely entertaining story that covers a brilliant tale.