One of the first scenes in Out of Sight was the main character robbing a bank using only his words. That same kind of knack for thinking quickly under pressure is employed in Catch Me If You Can, which tells the story of Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio), who, after witnessing the end of the marriage of his parents (Christopher Walken and Nathalie Baye), decides to flee, and begins to bounce checks. Not only does he bounce over $2 million in checks, but he also impersonates a tea…her, a doctor, a lawyer and an airline pilot, all by his 21st birthday. DiCaprio’s foil in the movie is the FBI agent pursuing him, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), who is dedicated to pursuing “paper hangers” like DiCaprio. The 2 hour movie is spent on the chase and friendly jousting between the two, and puts you right by DiCaprio as he makes sure not to say the wrong thing in the situations he runs into. One of the other subplots given attention is the relationship between Frank and Frank Sr., portrayed by Christopher Walken, who earned an Oscar nomination for his brief work in the film. Unconditionally, despite whatever financial woes he suffered, Frank Sr. loved his son, and despite Frank Jr.’s attempt to ease his father’s pain, his father seems to be a proud man, and never accepts his gifts, however extravagant they may be. As a funny postscript, Abagnale not only worked with the FBI as part of his parole to assist in check fraud cases, but also helped developed check security protocols for many corporations, and has made millions from those also.
Steven Spielberg, the director of this film, said repeatedly during this film (and on the 2nd disc interviews), that he wanted to make a “fun” movie, after directing the darker themed A.I. and Minority Report, he was looking for a break, but was talked into making this movie by DiCaprio, and he didn’t look back. With small parts filled by James Brolin, Martin Sheen and Jennifer Garner, Catch Me If You Can lives up to the creative respite for Spielberg, while at the same time, affording him the opportunity of working with long-desired actors. The film’s good fun production and filming eased its way onto the screen as well, as the chase between Leo and Tom was an entertaining one.
John Williams’ score, certainly a change of pace from previous films, shines through on both the 5.1 and DTS tracks, with the DTS track bringing a bit more depth to it. The score is clearly the star, as the effects are very few, with the occasional airplane takeoff using your surround speakers, and the dialogue track is capable, but nothing to wow you.
DreamWorks has developed an almost unrecognized knack for putting out consistently superb video transfers, and this is no exception. The contrast and black levels are great, and everything is shown crystal clear, from the almost drab New York exterior scenes to the bright colors in Miami. There are scenes that appear to be a bit fuzzy, but chalk it up to the way the movie was filmed. Outstanding work.
Despite a 2-disc set full of promise, there wasn’t too much that delivered, and some of it was even redundant, a disappointment from Laurent Bouzereau, considering his past work. “Behind the Camera” is a 17-minute feature that was brief, but was full of interviews from the cast and crew. It covered each aspect of shooting, but again, did it quickly, 1 or 2 minutes was spent on production and costume design, props, lighting and cinematography, as well as some screen time from Steven, Tom and Leo. “Cast Me If You Can” talks about the casting, of course, and is broken down into 3-6 minutes on the principal and supporting actors. It talks about how everyone got the gig, as one would expect. The 5 segments total just over 23 minutes, but anytime you can get some interview footage from Chris Walken, it’s a good thing. You know it’s John Williams time when you select “Scoring Catch Me If You Can”. This Williams guy is good, that’s for sure, and you’d think that more than 5 minutes could be devoted to him, but to no avail. “Frank Abagnale, Jr.: Between Reality and Fiction”, spends 16 minutes covering the source of the movie, and the book before it. The first third of it talks about his family history, before he was one the run, and the rest was spent talking about his time in his various “jobs”, as well as a short wrap up since his incarceration. All the talk about him being a charming guy is legit, he was fascinating to watch and listen to, but DiCaprio made a comment about who he stole the money from which seemed to equate him to Robin Hood or something, reminding me that celebrities need to think before they speak.
”The FBI perspective” is a 7 minute piece from the technical advisor (William Rehder), which, even as filler material, didn’t serve too much of a purpose. Most of us are grown enough to know, or be aware of, what a technical advisor does on set, but knowing that, even this piece is a bit tedious. “In Closing” is almost 5 minutes, and has interview clips from just about everyone discussing their experience on the movie, and reinforces Spielberg’s opinion that he thought it was a lot of fun making the film. The archives first starts with photo galleries, broken down by Cast, Behind the Scenes and Production Design, totaling almost 100. The cast and filmmaker biographies are included, and I don’t recall seeing filmographies associated with them, perhaps I’m mistaken. The production notes is broken down into the source and era sections, and are almost 90 pages of material, and in skimming it, some of it had been mentioned in the previous behind the scenes material.
At the end of the day, this release phoned in the special features on the 2nd disc, even for a Spielberg release. It’s a pretty fun movie about a naïve criminal who blossoms, and the film’s fun nature, combined with the good audio and video quality behind it, make for a film worthy of repeated viewings.
Special Features List
- “Behind the Camera”
- “Cast Me If You Can”
- Frank Abagnale Profile
- FBI Featurette
- Scoring Featurette