Catch Me If You Can (2002)
27th May 2003
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 and Minority Report, were really dark and gritty subject matter and as a result their pictures were dull and sullen. However, 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 in1960's America.
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 print is pristine and free from any picture noise or dust scratches. When I originally saw the film at the cinema I was impressed with the colour level and detail and my mind was soon set thinking about what the DVD would offer. I needn't have worried. It is awesome and it's sure to grace many a demonstration room. It's a truly remarkable effort and a credit to the DVD authors.
As of late DreamWorks has been supplying their films with both Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks. As a result any additional material tends either to be dropped or placed on a supplementary disc. Fortunately, the later has been chosen and we have a number soundtrack choices and 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.
To go with the three personas in the film, the menu system also allows the selection of one of three identities. Once selected, a set of superbly animated and scored menus will be displayed with either a pilot, doctor or lawyer stance. It's a simple, but brilliant idea which really adds to the presentation of the disc. A bonus point for ingenuity.
With the 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.
From this multitude of information I certainly learned something about the arrogance of some of these big name Hollywood stars. They sit and complain about the number of hours they have to film and then spend ages wondering just what their motivation is and telling the director how to direct. Listen, I'll tell you what the motivation is. It's a $20 million dollar pay cheque and 5% of the gross profits, that's what! Tsk, just who are these people!? Fortunately, fame and fortune hasn't gone to all of the cast and crew members heads.
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.
- "Catch Me if You Can": Behind the Camera
- Cast Me if You Can: The Casting of the Film
- Scoring "Catch Me if You Can"
- Frank Abagnale: Between Reality and Fiction
- The FBI Perspective
- "Catch Me if You Can": In Closing
- Photo galleries
- Cast Details
- Filmmakers Details
- Production notes