he film speaks of an "easier" time before the Internet, background checks, and Viet Nam realities — a time when appearances meant everything. The film plays heavily on "pleasant" nostalgia.
Review by Mike Furches
and David Bruce


This page was created on December 20, 2002
This page was last updated on August 21, 2003

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Directed by Steven Spielberg
Click to enlargeBook by Frank Abagnale Jr. and Stan Redding
Scrrenplay by Jeff Nathanson

Leonardo DiCaprio .... Frank Abagnale, Jr.
Tom Hanks .... Carl Hanratty
Christopher Walken .... Frank Abagnale, Sr.
Jennifer Garner .... Prostitute
Amy Adams .... Brenda
Martin Sheen .... Brenda's Father
Frank John Hughes .... Tom Fox
Brian Howe .... Earl Amdursky

Produced by
Barry Kemp .... executive producer
Daniel Lupi .... co-executive producer
Laurie MacDonald .... executive producer
Devorah Moos-Hankin .... co-producer
Click to enlargeWalter F. Parkes .... producer
Anthony Romano .... executive producer
Michel Shane .... executive producer
Steven Spielberg .... producer

Original Music byJohn Williams
Cinematography byJanusz Kaminski
Film Editing by Michael Kahn
Casting by Debra Zane
Production Design by Jeannine Claudia Oppewall
Art Direction by Sarah Knowles
Set Decoration by Leslie A. Pope
Costume Design by Mary Zophres

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and brief language.
For rating reasons, go to FILMRATINGS.COM, and MPAA.ORG.
Parents, please refer to PARENTALGUIDE.ORG

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Catch Me If You Can:
The Amazing True Story of the Most Extraordinary Liar in the History of Fun and Profit
by Stan Redding, Frank W. Abagnale

When this true-crime story first appeared in 1980, it made the New York Times bestseller list within weeks. Two decades later, it's being rereleased in conjunction with a film version produced by DreamWorks. In the space of five years, Frank Abagnale passed $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in every state and 26 foreign countries. He did it by pioneering implausible and brazen scams, such as impersonating a Pan Am pilot (puddle jumping around the world in the cockpit, even taking over the controls). He also played the role of a pediatrician and faked his way into the position of temporary resident supervisor at a hospital in Georgia. Posing as a lawyer, he conned his way into a position in a state attorney general's office, and he taught a semester of college-level sociology with a purloined degree from Columbia University.

The kicker is, he was actually a teenage high school dropout. Now an authority on counterfeiting and secure documents, Abagnale tells of his years of impersonations, swindles, and felonies with humor and the kind of confidence that enabled him to pull off his poseur performances. "Modesty is not one of my virtues. At the time, virtue was not one of my virtues," he writes. In fact, he did it all for his overactive libido--he needed money and status to woo the girls. He also loved a challenge and the ego boost that came with playing important men. What's not disclosed in this highly engaging tale is that Abagnale was released from prison after five years on the condition that he help the government write fraud-prevention programs. So, if you're planning to pick up some tips from this highly detailed manifesto on paperhanging, be warned: this master has already foiled you. --Lesley Reed

Catch Me If You Can (True Crime (Avon Books).)
by Kraig Hanadel, Chris Curtice (Contributor), John Souza

Book Description
Two days after Easter 1992, in the Fresno, California neighborhood of Sunnyside, homicide detective John Souza walked into a beautiful home and found ugliness within. Dale Ewell, a successful airplane dealer, his wife Glee and his daughter Tiffany had all been efficiently gunned down. It appeared they had interrupted a burglary. But Souza and his fellow detectives suspected that the crime scene was staged, that the murders instead wre carefully planned, and that the motive was a simple one: money.

Souza soon turned his eyes on the family's surviving son, Dana, a college student who wore expensive suits, told expensive lies, and talked openly about taking over his father's business and his father's life. But police couldn't tie Dana to the crime. Weeks stretched into months, and as Dana investigated how he could get his hands on his father's millions, a fierce duel began between the cold-blooded rich boy and the working-class detectives. For three years, Souza and Curtice kept at the case, relentlessly chasing even the tiniest leads. And for three years, Dana taunted them, daring the police to catch him...if they could.

About the Author
In addition to his work as a writer, Kraig Hanadel is a freelance editor, classical guitarist, and composer. He has two sons, Britain and Julian.


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Click to enlargeOscar® nominee Leonardo DiCaprio ("What's Eating Gilbert Grape," "Titanic") and two-time Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks ("Philadelphia," "Forrest Gump") engage in a game of cat and mouse in "Catch Me If You Can," under the direction of three-time Academy Award® winner Steven Spielberg ("Saving Private Ryan," "Schindler's List").

Frank W. Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) worked as a doctor, a lawyer and as a co-pilot for a major airline-all before his 21st birthday. A master of deception, he was also a brilliant forger, whose skill at check fraud had netted him millions of dollars in stolen funds. FBI Agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) had made it his prime mission to capture Frank and bring him to justice, but Frank is always one step ahead of him, baiting him to continue the chase.

Click to enlarge"Catch Me If You Can" also stars Academy Award® winner Christopher Walken ("The Deer Hunter"), Golden Globe Award winner Martin Sheen (TV's "The West Wing"), Nathalie Baye, Amy Adams, James Brolin, Brian Howe, Frank John Hughes and Golden Globe winner Jennifer Garner (TV's "Alias").

Steven Spielberg directed "Catch Me If You Can" from a screenplay by Jeff Nathanson, based on the autobiographical book of the same name by Frank W. Abagnale with Stan Redding. The film was produced by Steven Spielberg and Walter F. Parkes ("The Ring," "Men in Black II"), with Barry Kemp, Laurie MacDonald, Michel Shane and Tony Romano executive producing.
By David Bruce
Web Master

Click to enlargeI saw this film when it opened on Christmas Day and the house was packed! It was the film of choice that day. It has so many things going for it. It stars Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, and is directed by Steven Spielberg. It's a fun film and is based on a true story that became a best selling book.

Click to enlargeDiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale, Jr. who ripped off a major corporation of millions of dollars. Perhaps part of the interest in this film stems from the recent scandal in which certain large corporations ripped off the general public (Enron, Author Anderson, et al). Perhaps this film is sort of an unconscious "get even" cultural response. (Although Pan Am Airlines was not part of the recent scandals.)

Click to enlargeAnother resonating point could be the resourcefulness, and creativeness of a 17-year-old high school student. He becomes a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer strictly through his own ambitious wit. We live in an age where the rules have changed considerably since 1964. We no longer count on corporations to give us a life-long career with retirement benefits. Rather, we look to our own abilities, resources and resourcefulness to see us through. We see ourselves as working for several employers during our working years. This film speaks to these new career and employment changes.

Click to enlargeBeyond all this, the film speaks of an "easier" time before the Internet, background checks, and Viet Nam realities — a time when appearances meant everything. You were a pilot because you wore a pilot uniform. You were a doctor because you dressed like one and hung a shingle on the wall. The film plays heavily on "pleasant" nostalgia.

From a spiritual point of view, this film addresses so many issues.
1. Identity
2. Assumptions
3. Appearances
4. Fatherhood
5. The impact of divorce
6. Creativity
7. Self-preservation
8. Stick-to-itiveness
9. Fraud
10. Justice
11. Human evil
12. Human goodness

Click to enlargeInterestingly, Christmas plays an important role in this film. With each Christmas, Abagnale makes a phone call to FBI agent Hanratty (Hanks). Each Christmas represents a dark moment in Abagnale's life, and somehow calling Hanratty brings him a little comfort, a ray of light in the midst of his darkness. Agent Hanratty is like the Hound of Heaven. He is the one who cares enough to chase Abagnale down.

Christmas, as you might know, is celebrated during the Winter Solstice, when the light finally conquers the darkness and the long dark winter nights give way to increasingly longer days. The sun conquers the darkness, which Christian traditions celebrate as the victory of the SON over the darkness of sin.

Click to enlargeAbagnale is captured and he serves prison time, but is released early when he finds grace from Hanratty who employs him as an FBI agent in charge of check fraud.

There is new life. There can be new beginnings.

And so the film ends with the best connecting points:
1. There is a hound of heaven, who cares.
2. Although each of us sins, there is grace.
3. There is new life.

Review by

Web site

Mike is the Senior Pastor at United at the Cross Community Church in Wichita Kansas. United at the Cross is a church made up of individuals not often accepted in other churches. The church consists of former gang members, drug addicts, prostitutes and others. Mike also speaks nationally on various topics and is a freelance writer. To learn more about Mike and his ministry link onto In the arts Mike has worked with top music artists such as Steppenwolf, Marshall Tucker Band, Kansas and has an active interest in film. Mike is pictured with his music band "Route 66."

Sometimes you go to the movies not expecting much because you haven't heard much about the particular film. That was the case in going to see Catch Me if You Can. What I did know was that Leonardo DiCaprio was in it. Okay, I saw him in Titanic, The Beach and a few others. To say the least I had mixed opinions of Mr. DiCaprio and wasn't expecting much from him in this movie. How could I say it? He wasn't going to be a drawing card for me.

Now Tom Hanks on the other hand has done such a wonderful array of parts ranging from Philadelphia, to Saving Private Ryan, and Sleepless in Seattle to Big. All of this from someone who had among his first ventures in television and movies the hideous, Bosom Buddies on his resume. To be honest the main reason I attended this particular movie was because it was a chance to go on a date with my 21 year old daughter who was visiting for the holidays from college. My opinion shortly after attending the movie was, WOW! Am I glad that I went to see this one.

Click to enlargeCatch Me If You Can, is to say the least, pure fun and enjoyment. It is also thought provoking and unbelievably true. The movie certainly adds to the cliché, "Truth is stranger than fiction." While the movie is certainly all of these things it is also much more. The direction by Steven Spielberg is absolutely incredible and this contemporary master story teller leaves no stones unturned. What we have is a story that will have you thinking long after seeing this movie. Thinking of a persons potential to change as well as another persons potential to forgive and heal.

Catch Me If You Can is a movie that on its surface explores the potential of one person to change and excel from being a criminal to being a contributor to society. It is also about another mans relentless pursuit of evil to bring about a good. It is also about much more though. Click to enlargeThe break up of family, the love between a father and a son, and of one's potential to overcome the evils that influence their lives. All of these themes and more in an era where most movie makers can't discuss openly and intelligently anything more than a basic plot or sub plot in a movie. Spielberg on the other hand is considered a master for a reason. He blends and weaves stories for all ages with themes and a morality that seeks to make this a better planet. He also understands the concept of just plain, flat out, good stories. Catch Me If You Can is just another example of the brilliance in the vein of storytelling.

Click to enlargeThere are numerous examples of wonderful acting in this story. While many will focus on the talents of DiCaprio one should not overlook the marvelous acting job given by Tom Hanks, and Christopher Walken. Both of these individuals give what could be considered Oscar © caliber performances.

Click to enlargeThe premise of the movie centers around the character of Frank Abagnale, Jr. played by Leonardo DiCaprio. He is a young man who by the age of 21 had embezzled millions of dollars and lived life as a air line pilot, doctor and attorney. He leaves home around the time of his 16th birthday as his mother and father separate and plan for a divorce. He has always been close to his father, Frank Abagnale, Sr. played by Walken. His father is a con man who has never succeeded at his craft. Click to enlargeCarl Hanratty, played by Tom Hanks is an FBI agent dealing specifically in fraudulent checks. He pursues Abagnale Jr. relentlessly over a number of years. There is numerous occasions where he comes close to catching him but always ends up just a little short. Over a period of years the two keep in touch on Christmas Eve via phone conversation. It is during these conversations that you can see that both are lonely. You see as the movie progresses that both characters understand and see that true happiness does not come from money or pursuit of respect, it comes from relationship and opportunity. There is a beautiful portrayal here on the importance of relationships.

The story takes place over a period of years and from the opening montage to the closing credits you are glued to the seat. It is one of the few movies I have seen where people actually sat around to watch the closing credits without, additional outtakes. There are a few story lines that close things up regarding where Abagnale Jr. is today, but all in all it is the credits that people stay around to watch. It goes to show that when a good story is told that people will want to know those that were involved with the story.

Click to enlargeWhile this movie will fall short of a perfect 10 it was one of the better movies of the year and will make it onto my top 10 list for the year. If looking for a story with many redemptive lessons as well as the illustrations on the importance of seeing potential and good in people, even those often perceived as bad, this is it. The audience will find itself rooting for the bad guy because we believe in the potential of good from the bad guy. We also root for the good guy because we can see that humanity is not that far separated. Kind of like the old saying, saved but by the grace of God. This story helps show but how close we all are except by the grace of God.

On a scale of 1-10, an almost perfect example of grace being illustrated in a movie, 9.5

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