Catch Me If You Can

Movie Information

In Brief: Steven Spielberg's return to the type of film for which he is most prized by the public -- following two less popular, more adventurous films -- is an agreeable, if somewhat overlong and not particularly memorable "true" story about a high schooler who managed to pass himself off as an airline pilot, a doctor and a lawyer. A good cast helps.
Genre: Fact-based Comedy Drama
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Amy Adams, Martin Sheen
Rated: PG-13

Some movies you see once and carry for life, and even find youself compelled to revisit. Others, while perfectly—even solidly—entertaining for one sitting, often have so little staying power that, until someone or something calls them to mind, you don’t even remember they exist. I once referred to such films as “four-star forgettables.” For me, one such film is Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can (2002)—a movie I saw before it came out in one of those special press screenings that studios set up during awards season. I haven’t really given the movie any further thought since that time. Attempting to watch it again for its upcoming screening by the Hendersonville Film Society, I now understand why: I only made it about an hour into the movie. It’s the sort of film that simply has no resonance or replay value for me. The film came back to me pretty clearly on this second look, and I felt I’d gotten everything I ever would out of it. It’s slick and professional in the extreme, and the cast is a definite plus. But once you know the story of super con man—really con kid—Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio), who managed to bamboozle a surprising number of people into believing he was a professional of some note in three different careers, there’s not that much there to reexamine. Confirmed fans of Spielberg will doubtlessly disagree. For a more detailed assessment of the film go to

The Hendersonville Film Society will show Catch Me If You Can at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 1, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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8 thoughts on “Catch Me If You Can

  1. Jeremy Dylan

    I really love this film. It’s probably my favourite Spielberg picture.

  2. Ken Hanke

    Honestly, there aren’t more than two or three current actors I’ve felt compelled to rank. Certainly, I don’t choose movies on who is in them as I might have in the 60s or even 70s. But if pressed, I’m go with The Dead Zone on Walken and with either Road to Perdition or The Ladykillers on Hanks. I am simply not all that taken with this movie.

  3. Jeremy Dylan

    I’m not sure why there’s such a disparity between our reactions on this film. After all, it’s not like it’s Spielberg at his most Spielbergian.

    And that scene in the restaurant between Walken and DiCaprio gets me every time.

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