Frank Abagnale Jr is a real person. A man with a brilliant brain. He used his intelligence to master the forgery of bank cheques, getting his hands on over 2.5million fraudulent dollars! Combining this skill with his natural charm, Frank assumed a succession of false identities. ‘Catch me if You Can’ is a dramatization of his life and it’s one of my favourite films.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Frank Jr, with Christopher Walken as Frank Abagnale Sr and Tom Hanks as Carl Hanratty, the FBI agent determined to corner the elusive trickster. Frank Jr starts learning his trade from his Dad, a failed businessman, who shows him how to blag free suit hire and a limousine for a trip to the bank manager. When Frank Sr and his wife separate, Frank Jr is forced to change schools. On his first day of term, his formal clothes set him aside from his classmates. Rather than be made a laughing-stock, Frank pretends to be a supply teacher, taking lessons and setting work for his peers. He gets away with it for a while, which gives him the self-assurance to attempt bigger and better cons. So begins his career as an impersonator. Frank poses as a Pan-Am pilot, a doctor and a lawyer, not to mention a brief spell as a Special Branch officer. This disguise is so effective, it manages to deflect even Hanratty!
When you watch the film, you just can’t help marvelling at the blatant cheek of the guy! He succeeds in hood-winking the people around him through sheer effrontery and quick wits. He is clearly not a chump though; Hanratty is desperate to find out how Abagnale cheated his way into the American Bar – the answer is rather surprising. Actually, Frank does get his comeuppance, but there is a marvellous twist in the tale. Great film. Catch it if You Can.