Movie Analysis: Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Traveling in the past year has been out of the question due to the pandemic, but we could always pretend to go out and make a trip of our own. “Catch Me if You Can” is a charming film about a famous con artist who now works for the FBI. The film was directed by Stephen Spielberg and inspired by the life of Frank Abagnale Jr. A book detailing the same events also called “Catch Me if You Can” was written in 1980.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale, the young suave con man who can get away with anything. Photo Courtesy of New on Netflix. com

Abagnale was known for impersonating up to 80 identities including a lawyer, a US bureau of prisons agent, an airline pilot and a psychiatrist all before the age of 22. He would forge checks under the different identities to make a living, according to Wikipedia. Abagnale was arrested twice, but got away both times. He successfully evaded authorities for over 5 years until he was caught in Montpellier, France in 1969. After a few years in prison, the FBI offered him a job working to identify major fraudulent cases. 

The film was released Dec. 25, 2002, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale Jr., Tom Hanks as Carl Hanratty and Christopher Walken as Frank Abagnale. 

The film stays true to the story of Frank Abagnale Jr. with some differences. Unlike the true story, Tom Hanks’ character was actually inspired by multiple FBI agents who worked on the Abagnale case. When Frank Abagnale Jr. heard that Leonardo DiCaprio was playing Abagnale, he was nervous that he wasn’t going to be as suave as he was. Abagnale later said that Dicaprio’s performance was great, according to IMDB.

Before I saw this movie I knew about the Abagnale case but the movie really put things into perspective for how crazy his early life was. While watching I couldn’t help but wonder how he got away with all of these elaborate plots. When I began to research Abagnale further, I was amazed with how young he was and how much he got away with. 

The movie in general is really fun. I wouldn’t recommend watching it with kids, but it’s a good movie for young adults. Obviously, I was intrigued by the actors. Leonardo Dicaprio is amazing as always and I really enjoyed Tom Hanks’ performance as Carl Hanratty. His accent was something to get used to at first, but after a while I found it appropriate. I think what also caught my attention was that John Williams wrote the music for this movie. 

Personally, I love crime films and this is a prime example of one. Although it follows the story of what happened to Frank Abagnale Jr., there are some new and interesting things they added to the story that make it interesting. My favorite thing about the film is Tom Hanks’ performance as Hanratty. I really liked how his character was sympathetic towards Abagnale Jr. in the end.

This lovely little cat and mouse movie is fun to watch if you’re missing traveling. Photo courtesy of thewarningsigns.com
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Do you have any recommendations on what films I should look into next? Send your suggestions to [email protected]