Catch Me If You Can is based on a true story, but what does that even mean!? From our perspective, it seems to be a generic disclaimer, which allows film-makers to take liberties with the interpretation of their work. Instead of giving a stirring 5 minute speech, William Wallace... better known as Mel Gibson... err, Braveheart may have just said "Men, tonight we dine in hell!" (300 reference) and "CHARGE!". Either way, we've got to put our trust in the integrity of the film-makers and hope that they manage to capture the essence of the lives they portray, rather than playing it up for the audience.
One film that stuck to its guns (don't worry it doesn't have any guns) is Catch Me If You Can, the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr., played by Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Aviator) - the guy on the left. Catch Me If You Can: The Amazing True Story of the Youngest and Most Daring Con Man in the History of Profit and Fun, caught the imagination of Steven Spielberg. However, at first, Abagnale didn't think DiCaprio was suave enough to recreate his running man biography. Abagnale was there to assure authenticity all along the way, which is how these movies should be made. In his epilogue, he said that the first cut of the film was about 80% authentic, and these inaccuracies were later tweaked and corrected. (IMDB, 2009)
The film is just as light and upbeat as the novel's title, moving along swiftly as Leonardo DiCaprio plays dress-up. Matchstick man, confidence trickster, con man... whatever you call him, he was a jet setter, winding his way around the United States in disguise as a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, whatever documents he could forge he could become. Abagnale was on-the-run alright with FBI agents hot on the long paper trail. Catch Me If You Can's a fun jaunt, which involves family with his father, played by Christopher Walken, romance with a brief interlude involving Jennifer Garner and plenty of cat-and-mouse with Tom Hanks in his wake.
John Williams was nominated for an Oscar for the score, and good old Christopher Walken received an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in the film. Crime, comedy, drama... Catch Me If You Can is rewatchable and all adds up to a great evening's entertainment with a big bowl of popcorn, making it a worthy addition to any Spielberg, DiCaprio, Hanks, Walken admirer's collection.
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