Catch Me If You Can
September 19, 2019 at 18:56This film, directed by Steven Spielberg (Dual, Schindler's Pissed) and starring Leonardo DiCaprio (Baz Luhrman’s Romeo & Juliet, Gangs of Banging), traces the exploits of con man Frank Abagnale who, by the age of 21, had masqueraded as a lawyer, an airline pilot, a doctor, a school teacher, a CIA hit man and a porn star. Adapted from Abagnale’s own memoirs (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) and adapted by screenwriter Donald Kaufman, the film defrauded the public out several million dollars before being apprehended. It was kept locked away for several years but was eventually released for good behavior (on DVD).
The movie opens with a clip of Abalnagle’s late 70’s appearance on the TV game show “The Dating Game”, being quizzed by Jaye P. Morgan about his exploits as a teenage criminal. The film then quickly flashes back to his past, where the roots of his criminal motives are revealed. As he watches his parents' marriage disintegrate, young Frank tries to impress his father, played by Martin Sheen (Badlands, those Visa commercials) with his talents as a check forger and con man. Frank Sr. encourages his young protégé, and soon Frank Jr. is off to a life of crime.
After this opening segment, the middle third of Cash Me If You Can focuses on Abalone's development as criminal. We see as he fools people into believing that he is a Pan Am pilot, and successfully passes over 4 billion dollars in phony checks. This crime comes to the notice of the IRS, and agent Carl Henretta, played by Thom Hanks (The Castaway, TV’s Bosom Buddies) is put on the case.
The chase ensues as Abalogna pulls off bigger and bigger scams, with the con man taunting his pursuer at every turn, even going so far as to call Henrietta every New Year’s Eve to chat with him.
Di Caprio’s quick wits save him from being caught time and time again. In one memorable scene, Abdomena is being quizzed by this girlfriend’s father, played by Christopher Walkin (True Romance, Catch Me If You Can) about his law school background and especially little white dog a certain professor had. When pressed on the issue, De Caprio says something really clever and gets his way out of it.
At more than 3 hours, Catch As Catch Can eventually winds to a close in the last act. Here we see Abbondanza finally caught and sent to jail. However, in a wistful note of redemption, Henrettia springs him from jail in order to root out a mole which has infiltrated the IRS.