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My Reflection on Catch Me If You Can

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The director Steven Spielberg of the movie “Catch Me if You Can” is widely known for his earlier works like Jaws, Jurassic Park, Bridge of Spies, etc… Jeff Nathanson as the scriptwriter and Janusz Kaminski as the cinematographer have both expressed some of the scenes of this movie to an extent that one feels like they could have nailed it, if not for some parts.

This drama and mystery movie was released in Los Angeles, California on December 25th, 2002. Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale Jr., Christopher Walken as Frank Abagnale Sr., Nathalie Baye as Paula Abagnale, Amy Adams as Brenda, Martin Sheen as Brenda’s Father, and Tom Hanks as Carl Hanratty consist of the main characters for this movie.

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Frank Abagnale’s story as this stranger-than-fiction tale of this thrilling, humorous, and feel-good crime drama film is what makes this movie suspicious and interesting. Frank Abagnale Jr. grew up learning his father’s sneaky ability and master trickery. Through his years in high school, he acted as a substitute English teacher to prevent his son from being just another student. He always had the skills for impersonation and forgery, therefore when his parents divorced, he ran away from home at the age of 16. He began cashing money with fake written checks and while acting as a reporter for a high school, he learned how to fake airline checks. He initiated a scam for millions of dollars, all before he was 19 years old. He even went to the extent of acting as a pilot for an Airline company called Pan America where he found himself getting free flights. His sneaky ability and fraudulent skills made him a criminal. When FBI agent Carl Hanratty catches up to his trail of fakery, he decides to impersonate a doctor. He even impersonates a lawyer and passes the bar exam. As Hanratty closes in, Frank realizes that despite his riches and a pursuit of romance Brenda, he finds himself alone in his world of lies and deceit. Eventually, after running away because of his parents’ divorce (and the lawyer’s trying to force him to choose between them), Frank decides to pretend to be an airline pilot so he can allay people’s suspicions when cashing the fake checks on which he’s trying to survive. Frank decides to stop posing as an airline pilot and instead take on the persona of an emergency room doctor. At the hospital, he meets the nurse Brenda and falls for her. Frank not only takes on a new job (which changes his life and provides new scenery for the story), he also shifts in his personal arc when he decides he wants to settle down and have a family.

The middle of this story also gives us the antagonist’s midpoint, as he makes a huge discovery about Frank, which changes the tempo of the story. Carl Hanratty pulls off an awkward accent; Frank Abagnale Sr. delivers an emotional performance, even with his deliveries; Frank Abagnale Jr. shines as the surprisingly likable crook. Recklessly, Abagnale Jr. calls Carl on Christmas Eve and tells him he wants to stop running and that he’s getting married. This is a nice pinch point, in a quiet, understated way. It puts its emphasis on Frank’s personal stakes, more than the public stakes of his eventual arrest. In many ways Carl is the one who stops reacting and starts acting in the second half of the story — which is interesting, since he is ultimately the one who triumphs in the conflict.

Though with the lengthy time of the movie, the lighthearted tone and planned pacing allow for unwavering entertainment, with much natural humor and Spielberg’s greatness for sympathizing with antiheroes. In criticizing the film, Spielberg needs to expand his views on some of the scenes of the movie to provide an explicit point. There were some scenes he could have done better, but he still demonstrated great views of his affinity for selecting and adapting crowd-pleasing material. Although the film could have had a better title, I’d rate it *** stars. After watching this movie which featured great actors and many great scenes. I’d recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of fiction and enjoys fictional lands.

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