|Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken
Director: Steven Spielberg
In a slew of fantastic holiday films released one after the other within the past month, all vying for a spot in this year's upcoming Oscars, it may be hard to find a great all-around film that will please everyone in the family. While "Gangs of New York" is too long and mature and "The Two Towers" is just as long and more involved, "Catch Me If You Can" offers everything you could want in a December film. It's a classic cat and mouse chase thrown into a can of '60s-style soda pop cool with great comedy and acting by both Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.
The story is inspired by the true events of teenage con man Frank Abagnale Jr. (DiCaprio) who, after his father (Christopher Walken) and mother (Nathalie Baye) divorced, ran away from home to begin one of the biggest check fraud stints in the history of the FBI. Frank has been faking it for years, even down to the time he posed as his new school's French substitute teacher for one whole week.
Scared to choose a parent to live with, Frank leaves his home with only the $25 checking account his father gave him on his last birthday. Sixteen and on his own with nowhere to go, Frank goes into Pan-Am Airlines to interview the president and find out all and everything he needs to know about airports and pilots, right down to the lingo they speak. One week later, Frank is flying all across the country, earning free trips and cashing fake airline checks at banks, while the FBI, led by Special Agent Carl Hanratty (Hanks), is hot on his trail of identity changes. From pilot, to doctor to lawyer, Frank never stops running.
While not a fan of the usual fare of Spielberg films, "Catch Me If You Can" is very different from his usual work and I absolutely loved it, especially due to the fine performances by DiCaprio as the boyish check fraud wonder and Hanks as the humorous G-man. Both of the leading actors played a major role in taking the movie to the next level of excellence and easily make it one of the best five films of the year. Catch this film if you can, because you won't want the chance to slip by.