What do you hope to accomplish in life? As they get older, teachers, parents, and other adults in their lives will frequently pose this question to children. Making the choices that will influence your life’s direction takes up a significant portion of adolescence. Some children attend college. Some people choose to follow their passions. Additionally, as Frank Abagnale Jr. discovers in Steven Spielberg’s criminal thriller Catch Me If You Can, some of them choose to lead a transient life of crime. Abagnale, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, pulled off impersonating a pilot, a lawyer, and a doctor while forging travelers’ cheques totaling millions of dollars, all before turning 19 years old.
You might be shocked if that seems too good to be true. For the movie, Spielberg and screenwriter Jeff Nathanson used the autobiography of real-life Abagnale, making some changes along the way. Later, Abagnale would comment on this, stating that despite the fact that the movie significantly diverged from his book, he still believed Spielberg was the best choice for the task. “Every now and again, I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. I’m very happy, and if anyone can do this movie right, it’s him “In a pre-release interview with IGN, Abagnale stated. He makes a brief cameo appearance in the movie as a French policeman who prevents his fictional counterpart from fleeing from prison. I saw the irony in that and didn’t miss it.
In actuality, the movie struggled with its own identity as it was being made. Dreamworks eventually acquired the rights after Colombia and Disney exchanged them, with Spielberg serving simply as a producer. A proposal to direct was made to Gore Verbinski, who would later enchant Hollywood with the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. Verbinski withdrew, though, due to DiCaprio’s Gangs of New York filming commitments. Before deciding to take over the camera himself, Spielberg contacted Cameron Crowe. It’s difficult not to sympathize for Frank despite the fact that he’s breaking multiple laws since Spielberg infuses the movie with heart and humor.
In its first scene, the movie begins to examine the idea of identity itself. Three men dressed as pilots enter the scene on the set of the iconic game show To Tell The Truth and introduce themselves as Frank Abagnale Jr. Even the host admits that “they’ll have to tell the truth and nothing but the truth” for the first time. The ruse then begins to fall apart, revealing Frank’s cross-country voyage and how he managed to elude FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks). But there is more to Frank’s deceitful behavior than initially appears.
More information about Frank’s youth and how he came to lead a life of crime is revealed via flashbacks. He was a typical high school student who adored his mother Paula and looked up to his father Christopher Walken (Nathalie Baye). But when the IRS starts looking into Frank Sr., the family is forced to relocate, and Paula starts dating Frank Srbuddy .’s Jack Barnes (James Brolin). When Frank’s parents finally get divorced, he goes into a tailspin. He makes the decision to leave home there and ends up across the country while pretending to be a pilot.
These scenes mark the beginning of Frank’s identity-related quest. Due to his private school attire, he is mistook for a dictionary salesman on his first day at his new school. However, he uses that to his advantage by impersonating a substitute instructor and embarrassing the bullies who teased him. He continues to make use of these abilities, winning people over with his charm and gathering up movie-related knowledge. He employs Barry Allen, aka the Flash, and Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond series, as aliases, and both movies also serve as his cover. With his boyish charm and suave speech, DiCaprio not only charms his target, but also the audience.
This offers the ideal counterpoint to Hanks’ portrayal of Hanratty. Hanks plays the FBI agent as a focused but humorless man who is dedicated to his task, losing his customary fatherly air. A good example is when he tells his coworkers to “go f*** themselves” after they inquire about his sense of humor during a knock-knock prank. The reason behind Hanratty’s pessimistic outlook is that his wife left him and took their daughter with her due to his commitment to his job. The two resemble each other more than they’d like to acknowledge.
This connection is highlighted by a recurrent story device in which Frank calls Hanratty on Christmas Eve in an effort to mend fences. Frank is typically found in one of the several hotels he has tricked his way into, whereas Hanratty is mostly found alone in the FBI offices. Thanks to Spielberg and his dependable cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, the distance between them is ultimately shown as more than kilometers, with shadows closing in on both men. Finally, Hanratty confronts Frank when he is hiding out in France and persuades him to turn himself in. Hanratty and Frank finally have the chance to be honest with one other, and DiCaprio and Hanks give it their all.
It’s not just them. For this movie, director Steven Spielberg put together one of his strongest ensemble ensembles, on par with his earlier box office successes like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Jurassic Park. When playing Frank Sr., Walken exhibits the same level of deceit that his son would later acquire. Other cameos feature Jennifer Garner as a call girl, Elizabeth Banks as a bank clerk, and Ellen Pompeo as a flight attendant. Amy Adams, however, is the actress who has the biggest part in the movie.
Adams portrays Brenda Strong, a young nurse who Frank becomes attracted to while posing as a doctor in Louisiana. Here, his normal methods start to fall flat because Brenda actually cares about him and because he meets his match in Roger, Brenda’s father (Martin Sheen, excellent as always.) This may be partially due to Brenda and her parents serving as a reminder of what he had before his mother and father separated; scenes in which he observes the Strongs doing the dishes or watching television are infused with a subtle yet emotional quality. Adams will break the heart of the audience because she always seems on the verge of tears and because the smile hiding her braces is so different from the one that would have been the star of Arrival and The Master.
In the end, Spielberg’s film Catch Me If You Can is an underappreciated masterpiece. It features a fantastic hook, an excellent cast, and the legendary John Williams’ jazzy, catchy score. Spielberg is highly known for his blockbuster movies, but this movie serves as a nice reminder that he’s also one of the more adaptable directors working today.