Plot: What’s it about?
Steven Spielberg had a pretty active year in 2002. After coming off his big special effects collaboration with Tom Cruise in Minority Report, Spielberg took a different turn for a lighter movie in the inspired by a true story genre. When I had first seen it, I liked it but as I noticed the second time viewing this film on the big screen, it was a case where the second time played better than the first time around. The film was “Catch Me If You Can”.
Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a normal teenager of a regular marriage. That is until one day, because of his father’s (Christopher Walken) tax problems, his mother cheats on the side and files for divorce. This causes Frank to run away. Upon his running away, he decides to get through using bad checks. This expands even further when Frank passes by a Pan Am airline pilot and thus begins the adventure of Frank impersonating a professional position as a pilot and many other jobs, unaware that agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) is on his tail with every check that he writes.
From the Saul Bass inspired title sequence accompanied by John Williams’ jazzy Henry Mancini- inspired score, I knew I was going to be in for an intriguing trip. I didn’t expect it to be that intriguing of a trip, especially the second time around.
The period is captured nicely with Spielberg’s great use of color and outfits as well as the cat and mouse tale with DiCaprio and Hanks making good adversaries and allies with each other.
After watching a special with Abagnale on ABC, I thought DiCaprio was going to be the wrong choice for the lead but, as every minute of the film went along, I was convinced no other actor could’ve pulled it off better than him. His Frank has the charming manner, the innocence and the love of his parents. He captured the struggle of the sudden broken family syndrome that ultimately comes back to haunt him.
The rest of the cast works well, especially Christopher Walken. As a father that looked like a success but ultimately ended up a failure, Walken captures the mood of a father that wishes he could’ve provided a better future for his son and his wife but couldn’t in the long run and Frank Jr. never changed the way he felt about him from start to finish.
For the short schedule that Spielberg and crew worked on this film, he made a more than satisfying film that gets better on multiple viewings.
Video: How does it look?
Catch Me If You Can is another Spielberg 1.85:1 title and the anamorphic transfer is eye popping with color mixing nicely for a good transfer without much grain or speckles. The colors don’t bleed and halos are not that apparent in the daytime scenes capturing the 60s look wonderfully. A very good transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
The sound on this Dreamworks title is pretty solid with the dialogue at a normal volume and the score balancing nicely in all channels. There was not much to demonstrate for state of the art sound quality but what is there for it’s source materials are choice. This disc also has Spanish and French audio choices along with English, Spanish and French subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Catch Me If You Can is a two-disc title for Dreamworks and they are mostly saved for disc two, similar to the Minority Report two-disc. The first disc also has clever menus giving you three choices whether you want the doctor menu, the pilot menu or the lawyer menu. All menus use the same design as the opening titles of the film.
On Disc Two, we’re given many featurettes to the making of the movie once again done by Spielberg documentarian, Laurent Bouzereau. “Behind The Camera” gives us some insight to the making of the film with Spielberg and company.
“Catch Me If You Can: The Casting of the Film” covers all players individually on how they got cast along with their reaction to working with Spielberg. The one that intrigues the most is the Walken segment with Spielberg directing a scene with a few takes and getting to see the Oscar winning actor and the director at action during one key scene of the film.
“Scoring Catch Me If You Can” covers John Williams and what styles he chose for the score of the film. I kind of wished he had explained his previous connection with Henry Mancini. Despite that, it’s always satisfying to hear anything from John Williams anywhere.
“Frank Abagnale: Between Reality and Fiction” covers the real life figure and goes into a few of how he was able to do what he did. “The FBI Perspective” shows the connection between technical advisor and the director, with Spielberg and William Rehder discussing capturing the time both historically and facts within the FBI end of check forgery.
“In Closing” summarizes shortly comments from the main players and finishes off the featurettes. They are all good but if there was only the Play All function, things would be much easier to go through.
Finally, there are photo galleries, production notes and cast and crew bios. Why there’s no trailer is beyond me and it’s a bad habit I hope Dreamworks breaks for future releases.
In short, “Catch Me If You Can” is worth catching for a very well made movie and some satisfactory extras. Both make for a satisfying two-disc title.