Catch Me If You Can is a 2002 American biographical comedy-drama film based on the life of Frank Abagnale Jr., who, before his 19th birthday, successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars by posing as a Pan American World Airways pilot, a Georgia doctor, and a Louisiana parish prosecutor. His primary crime was check fraud; he became so skillful that the FBI eventually turned to him for help in catching other check forgers. The film is directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Abagnale, Tom Hanks as Hanratty, along with Christopher Walken, Amy Adams, Martin Sheen, and Nathalie Baye.
Frank Abagnale, Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio), 16 years old, lives in 1963 New Rochelle, New York with his father Frank Abagnale Sr (Christopher Walken), and French mother Paula (Nathalie Baye). When Frank Sr. is denied a business loan at Chase Manhattan Bank due to unspecified difficulties with the IRS, the family is forced to move from their large home to a small apartment. Paula carries on an affair with Jack (James Brolin), a friend of her husband. Meanwhile, Frank poses as a substitute teacher in his French class. Frank's parents file for divorce, and Frank runs away. When he runs out of money, he begins to rely on confidence scams to get by. Soon, Frank's cons grow bolder and he even impersonates an airline pilot. He forges Pan Am payroll checks and succeeds in stealing over $2.8 million.
Meanwhile, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), an FBI bank fraud agent, begins to track down Frank. Carl and Frank meet in a hotel, where Frank convinces Carl his name is Barry Allen of the Secret Service. Frank leaves, with Carl fooled, who angrily realizes his mistake. Later, at Christmas, Carl is still working when Frank calls him, attempting to apologize for duping Carl. Carl rejects his apology and tells him he will soon be caught, but laughs when he realizes Frank actually called him because he has no one else to talk to. Frank hangs up, and Carl continues to investigate, suddenly realizing (thanks to a waiter) that the name "Barry Allen" is from the Flash comic books and that Frank is just a teenager.
Frank, meanwhile, has not only changed to becoming a doctor and a lawyer, but has fallen in love with Brenda (Amy Adams), to whom he eventually admits the truth about himself and asks her to run away with him. Carl tracks him to his wedding party where Frank has left Brenda, asking her to meet him two days later so they can elope. Frank sees her waiting for him two days later, but also sees agents in disguise and realizes he has been set up and escapes on a flight to Europe. Seven months later, Carl shows his boss that Frank has been forging checks all over western Europe and asks permission to go to Europe to look for him. When his boss says no, Carl brings Frank's checks to printing professionals who deem that the check was printed in France. Remembering from an interview with Frank's mother that she was born in Montrichard, France, Carl goes there where he finds Frank, and tells him that the French police will kill him if he does not go with Carl quietly. Frank assumes he is lying at first, but Carl promises Frank he would never lie to him, and Carl takes him outside, where the French police escort him to prison.
The scene then flashes forward to a plane returning Frank home from prison, where Carl informs him that his father has died. Consumed with grief, Frank escapes from the plane and goes back to his old house, where he finds his mother with the man she left his father for, as well as a girl that Frank realizes is his half-sister. Frank gives himself up and is sentenced to 12 years in prison, getting visits from time to time from Carl. When Frank points out how one of the checks Carl is carrying as evidence is fake, Carl convinces the FBI to offer Frank a deal by which he can live out the remainder of his sentence working for the bank fraud department of the FBI, to which Frank accepts. While working at the FBI, Frank misses the thrill of the chase and even attempts to fly as an airline pilot again. He is cornered by Carl, who insists that Frank will return to the FBI job since no one is chasing him.
On the following Monday, Carl is nervous that Frank has not yet appeared at work. However, Frank finally shows up and they discuss their next case.
The ending credits reveal that Frank has been happily married for 26 years, has three sons, lives in the Midwest, is still good friends with Carl, has caught some of the world's most elusive money forgers, and earns millions of dollars each year because of his work creating unforgeable checks.
Frank Abagnale Jr.: Ah, people only know what you tell them, Carl.
Frank Abagnale Sr.: You know why the Yankees always win, Frank?
Frank Abagnale, Jr.: 'Cause they have Mickey Mantle?
Frank Abagnale Sr.: No, it's 'cause the other teams can't stop staring at those damn pinstripes.
Carl Hanratty: There's impressions on every line... looks like the original amount was for $60...
Frank Abagnale, Jr.: (walks up and takes magnifier) Mind if I take a look?
Carl Hanratty: (looks up) Cashed in Flagstaff a week ago. Cost the bank $16,000.
Frank Abagnale, Jr.: It's a real check.
Carl Hanratty: Yeah. Yeah, it's been washed. The only thing original is the signature.
Frank Abagnale, Jr.: But it's perfect, Carl. I mean, this isn't hydrochloride or bleach.
Carl Hanratty: No. Something new. Maybe a nail polish remover where the acetone removes the ink that's not been printed?
Carl Hanratty: How did you do it, Frank? How did you cheat on the bar exam in Louisiana?
Frank Abagnale, Jr.: I didn't cheat. I studied for two weeks and I passed.
Carl Hanratty: Is that the truth, Frank? Is that the truth?
Frank Abagnale, Jr.: I'll bet this guy steals checks out of mailboxes. He washes off their names and he puts on his own.
Carl Hanratty: You're saying he's a local?
Frank Abagnale, Jr.: Well, if it were me, you know, I'd call the bank first... check out the balance...
Carl Hanratty: Make sure there's enough money in there to make it worth your while...
Frank Abagnale, Jr.: You know, Carl, I think this guy's pretty smart.
Frank Abagnale, Jr.: Now, all we have to do is catch him.
|Release Date||16 December 2002|
|US Box Office||$164,000,000|
|Tagline||The true story of a real fake.|
|Genre||Biography, Crime, Drama, Comedy|
|Filming Locations||3077 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, California, USA|
|Sound Mix||DTS, Dolby Digital, SDDS|
|Film Class||Biopic [feature], Chase Movie|
|Themes||Unlikely Criminals, Cons and Scams, Assumed Identities, Hotshots, Fathers and Sons|
|Tones||Slick, Humorous, Wry, Poignant, Light, Nostalgic|