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Catch Me If You Can (2002) artwork

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

27th May 2003

Based on the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr., Americas most successful conman who passed himself off as a Pilot, Doctor and Lawyer, all before his 21st birthday.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, Nathalie Baye, Amy Adams, James Brolin, Brian Howe, Frank John Hughes, Steve Eastin, Chris Ellis, John Finn
Action/Adventure, Crime, Suspense/Thriller
2, 4
2 Hours 15 Minutes

Frank is an only child in an apparently happy and loving family. However, there are problems. His father is struggling with the IRS and the family are forced to move to smaller accommodation in a lower class area whilst Frank is forced to move to a different school. It is here that Frank learns the power he has over other people. After being bullied in the school corridor he discovers that the same person is in his French class so Frank stands at the front of the class and takes the French lesson, making sure the bully is humiliated at every possibility. It is over a week before his French class is rumbled.

The financial strain on the family is too much for his mother and a divorce is soon on the cards. As part of the divorce Frank is asked by a lawyer to write down on a piece of paper the name of the parent he would prefer to live with. This is too much for Frank and, armed with his newly issued cheque book, he runs away to the city never to return.

Trouble is, his funds wont last too long so using the many techniques he learned off his father he goes about attempting to charm people in order to get his worthless cheques cashed. When this fails he decides that he needs a more respectable image and after seeing how an airline pilot was treated at the same bank he obtains a Pan-Am uniform. Frank soon becomes apt at forging cheques and other documents and before too long he has FBI agent Carl Handratty on his case.

With the FBI closing in Frank decides that a change of career is required, so with forged documents in hand he becomes a paediatric doctor. And if that's not good enough, in order to impress his prospective father in law he also becomes a lawyer whilst still producing and cashing his forged cheques. However, what makes this even more impressive, it's a feat he manages to perform before his 21st birthday!

Spielberg's last two films, Artificial Intelligence{/i{ and Minority Report, were really dark and gritty subject matter and as a result their pictures were dull and sullen. With the change to more upbeat subject matter Spielberg was free to throw as much colour as possible to the viewer. The result is a film which contains a multitude of rich and vibrant colours that is reproduced in superb detail - so much so that if you whipped out your fondue set you'd think you were back in1960's America.

With three multi-language Dolby Digital and an English DTS soundtrack there has been some heavy demands placed on the remaining disc space for the picture. Fortunately, it hasn't suffered too much and colours and level of detail are extremely impressive throughout. There are no signs of pixelisation or outlining and the above average bit-rate ensures that there is no artifacting. As expected for a film of this calibre, the picture is free from any picture noise and suffers from relativity few dust scratches.

However, I did feel that the additional space requirements for the various soundtracks did have a subtle effect on the overall picture quality. It may be the differences in the PAL picture reproduction to region one NTSC edition, but I felt that the region two edition suffered from much more grain, especially during the much brighter outdoor scenes.

As of late Dreamworks has been supplying their films with both Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks. Whilst this should be highly praised, it can result in any additional being dropped completely or placed on a supplementary disc. Fortunately, the later option has been chosen and we have a number soundtrack choices, albeit at a lower 768kb/s to accommodate them all, as well as a superb set of extras.

Given the nature of the film there wasn't any real need for two competing soundtracks. They both manage to reproduce the dialogue and stereo effects with ease and there are plenty of ambient effects in the surround channels to keep most people happy. However, if I had to make a choice it would have to be the DTS version with its better separation and presence. Whilst the dialogue and general ambient effects don't really benefit from the more spatial DTS soundtrack, it is the superb jazzy John Williams musical score that really shines through.

Although the menu is not as exciting as its region one counterpart, it does have to accommodate us fickle Europeans and contains a number of multi-language options. Never the less, the menus are animated and scored in the same manner as the films opening credits. It must be one of the most imaginative menus I've ever seen on DVD.

With the multiple Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks taking up valuable space the extras have been given their own disc. And what an interesting collection of extras they, especially anything to do with the real life Frank Abagnale, and are essentially made up of behind the scenes featurettes with Frank, the director and the various actors.

The various documentaries are grouped in a number of categories and can be played individually or as a complete set. All in all, these documentaries run to just over an hour in total. Whilst the documentaries are of a high quality the other extras can really only be classed as filler material. Even the filler to end all fillers, the theatrical trailer, is missing.

Catch Me If You Can is a superb film that keeps you gripped from the moment it starts to the moment it finishes. Even though Frank Abagnale is a convicted criminal it is hard to not like him and its almost as if you're watching a feel good move. If anything, you admire Frank for his sheer cheek and daring that got on the FBI's most wanted list and netted him over $4 millions dollars from counterfeit cheques.

I still find myself shocked at the sheer gullibility of the people who allowed him to get away with the things he did (not all of his scams are shown in the film). However, I guess he came and operated in an age where people trusted a person in uniform and they left their doors unlocked at night.

With an extraordinary story, an all round fun film and the directorial brilliance of Steven Spielberg, do yourself a favour and get yourself this disc. Highly recommended.

  • Cast Me If You Can: The Casting of the Film
  • Scoring Catch Me If You Can
  • Catch Me If You Can: Behind the Camera
  • Frank Abagnale: Between Reality and Fiction
  • The FBI Perspective
  • Catch Me If You Can In Closing
  • Photo Gallery
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