review for Catch Me If You Can on AllMovie

Catch Me If You Can (2002)
by Tracie Cooper review

Leaving behind the darker implications found in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence and Minority Report, Steven Spielberg brings audiences a highly enjoyable cat-and-mouse escapade in Catch Me if You Can. Despite purposely fudging some fairly major aspects of Frank Abagnale Jr.'s personal history for dramatic effect -- the character of Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), for example, is completely fictitious -- the film is nonetheless an engaging and relatively accurate account of Abagnale's life. Somewhat overshadowed by Daniel Day-Lewis and Liam Neeson in Gangs of New York, Leonardo DiCaprio's talents have not been showcased this well since his Academy Award nominated performance in What's Eating Gilbert Grape. DiCaprio's boyish features and bright charisma make for a sympathetic portrayal of the young con artist, and Frank's actions seem less motivated by greed than they are by the desire to restore his family to what it once was, as well as, ironically, a way to discover his true identity. Tom Hanks puts in an equally strong performance as droll FBI agent Hanratty, whose determination to apprehend Frank is more of an exercise in his own ideals and even paternal concern than an ego-motivated manhunt. The film's only major faults are the palpable slow down in its later half, and a conclusion that, like A.I. and Minority Report, does not seem to end where it should. Regardless, Catch Me if You Can is a beautifully shot, thoroughly enjoyable movie with a whole lot of heart.