Catch Me if You Can

Steven Spielberg has directed at least 63 movies in his career. Catch Me if You Can was one of them. Spielberg has the reputation of one of the best directors in the history of film and for good reason. All of his movies that I have seen I would not give a bad review about. Catch Me if You Can was released in 2002. It stars Leonardo Decaprio as Frank Abagnale Jr. and Tom Hanks as Carl Hanratty. Some movies that use flashbacks to tell a story and move along a timeline by bouncing from year to year can confuse the viewer. In this movie Spielberg did not fall into this trap of confusion. The movie begins with a recreated episode of the game show ‘To Tell the Truth” set in 1977 then transitions with the opening credits and from there to a French Prison in 1969. Before the story really begins it is 1963 again and Frank the main character is 16 years old. This use of a fluid timeline helps introduce viewers to Frank and helps them get a sense that the plot all happens within the span of 6 years.

This incredible story was based on true events. There really was a Frank Abagnale and he even helped out in the making of the movie. Since Catch Me if You Can is not a documentary several changes were made to minor details. There was no agent named Carl Hanratty. His character was a combination of many different FBI agents that worked on Frank’s case. While little changes were made they stuck to the main events even if they are almost inconceivable. SPOILER ALERT! Unfortunately to fully discuss the body of work I need to give away plot points of the film. By the time Frank was 19 he had forged millions of dollars in fraudulent checks, while posing as a Pan American pilot, a doctor (Harvard medical school of course), and a licensed Lawyer. This lifestyle led to him fleeing to Europe where he was captured and eventually expedited back to the United States. Exciting lifestyle = exciting body of work + talented director = exciting movie!

Even though this is a movie about a true story, it does not mean that it is lacking a theme. One could be troubled childhoods and how it can affect children. SPOILER ALERT! Frank’s father looses the family’s money through many IRS tax frauds, which leads to marital strains and eventually a divorce. This among the challenges of changing schools led Frank to run away from home. Spielberg’s parents also were divorced when he was a teenager and the character Carl was divorced from his wife as well. Troubled childhoods can lead to troubled adult lives. Especially in todays time divorce can almost be described as common. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by divorce. Since Carl Hanratty was created by the movie it was not 100% necessary to make him divorced. It did however spark a relationship between Frank and Carl (when they would talk on the phone Frank would often ask of his daughter).

Personally I enjoyed the movie. It’s a comedy, a drama, and a crime movie as well as a biographical film. The actors are talented and bring the crazy true story to life.