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February 2, 2023

‘Catch Me If You Can’ never really gets up to speed

Although there are a lot of things to like about the new Tom
Hanks/Leonardo DiCaprio movie

Catch Me if You Can,

it doesn’t live up to its potential.
Although there are a lot of things to like about the new Tom Hanks/Leonardo DiCaprio movie “Catch Me if You Can,” currently playing at Premiere Cinemas, it doesn’t live up to its potential.

The two-hour and 20-minute release from Dreamworks Studios, has enough all-around talent – Steven Spielberg directing and Academy Award-winning actors such as Hanks and Christopher Walken – that I frankly expected a lot more from it.

Two of the things to like about this movie – which is based on the autobiography of the same name by Frank Abagnale and Stan Redding – are the acting and Spielberg’s dead-on recreation of the early ’60s in the costumes and the cars, which made me feel like I was taking a trip back in time.

The other good thing is the acting. Walken is a joy to watch as deep-in-denial father Frank Abagnale Sr. and Hanks – despite a hard-to-identify accent – is excellent as straight-laced FBI agent Carl Hanratty.

I’m not a big fan of DiCaprio, but his performance in this movie is good. He faltered in “Gangs of New York” but shines in “Catch Me” as a loveable cheat who lives a charmed life of seemingly victimless crime. The real Abagnale claims that none of the clerks or tellers he hoodwinked ever got into trouble.

American audiences are easily drawn to the fantasy of the guy who gets away with it with a wink, a smile and no bloodshed. It’s a fairy tale that we love to watch again and again.

DiCaprio gives one of his best performances in the role of a boy pretending to be a man and he slips through the beginning of this film like a well-oiled machine. Where he and the film run into trouble is in the director’s and screenwriter’s efforts to wring deeper meaning out of Abagnale’s adventure.

The story starts in 1964, when 16-year-old Frank Abagnale runs away from home to escape his parents’ divorce. But once he hops a train to New York City and starts running, he keeps running. Realizing he isn’t old enough to make a living through normal means, he decides to take another route.

Believing in the old saying “Clothes make the man,” the teenager – whose premature gray hair and thick build make him look 10 years older – puts on a Pan-Am pilot’s uniform and pretends to be a co-pilot. Armed with that and a wallet stuffed with phony identification, he’s allowed to roam free across the globe.

After spending years working in his father’s stationery business, Abignale is adept enough to produce a series of nearly perfect fake checks, some so good even the banks can’t tell the difference.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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