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Catch Me If You Can - Blu-ray Review

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Catch Me if You Can - Blu-ray Review

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4 stars

Spielberg’s recurring motif of fathers and sons gets a cat-and-mouse twist in this comedic caper from 2002.  Starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio, Catch Me If You Can gets much of its gusto from their remarkable performances and Spielberg, working with Jeff Nathanson's BAFTA-nominated screenplay, keeps the proceedings light and frothy even as the material grows dark.  It’s a roaring crowd pleaser for sure and, in spite of a manic fallacy in the film’s finale, manages to be another solid offering from Spierlberg.

While inspired by a true story, Nathanson’s heart-injected screenplay about one FBI man’s search for a teenage con artist certainly shouldn’t be mistaken for an actual account of what happened.  It’s a far loftier tale – one of family, childhood, and divorce - that will please scribes of Plato and not those expecting a history lesson.  Even the marketing of the film downplayed the significance of its true story origins with a campaign that highlighted performances over factual property.

DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale Jr. and, having learned the truth about the supposed domestic bliss he shares with his father, Frank Sr. (Christopher Walken), and mother, Paula (Nathalie Baye), decides to hightail it, cut loose, and be the man his father needs him to be so that their lives can return to normal in Westchester County.  It’s a journey – full of costumes, fake identities, and spirit – that takes him a great long while to come to terms with.

For Hanks’ Carl Hanratty, the epic chase is a chance for him to be a father to a daughter he never sees.  He’s routinely made fun of by a group of co-workers who don’t take check fraud seriously and repeatedly takes a drumming as Abagnale, starting out as a confidence man, grows bolder and cons millions of dollars worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and Louisiana parish prosecutor.  Along the way, though, Carl uncovers the truth behind Anagnale’s criminal behavoir and discovers a lot of respect for the young man.

Spielberg arms the film with a classy forward momentum that never lets up and never gives the audience a break from the humor and the heart of the piece.  This is a good strategy that pays off when the film’s manic-centered climax – DiCaprio being cornered by Hanks in France - fails to land in the realm of believability.  Spielberg recovers nicely because, well, the dénouement continues for another ten or so minutes to wrap up everything nicely so that it doesn’t end on its one sour note.

Another plus is the jazzy score from John Williams.  This Mancini-inspired engagement is an intimate session from Williams and probably will be as close as most people will ever get to the man himself.  It’s never bombastic, never crushing, and slays the audience in every way by never announcing itself and never taking itself too seriously.  It’s easily one of his best non-genre based scores.

Catch Me If You Can is not a major Spielberg movie. It arrived at a time when Spielberg was noodling about in between two science fiction films and gave us this one and The Terminal. What this film happens to be is Spielberg at his friendliest. Catch Me If You Can is a warm and inviting social engagement from Spielberg for anyone with a couple of hours to spare.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Catch Me if You Can - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual content and brief language.
Runtime:
141 mins.
Director
: Steven Spielberg
Writer
: Jeff Nathanson
Cast: Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio; Christopher Walken; Martin Sheen; Amy Adams; James Brolin
Genre: Biography | Drama
Tagline:
The true story of a real fake.
Memorable Movie Quote: "What's she gonna be, a shoe salesman at a centipede farm?"
Distributor:
Dreamworks Distribution
Official Site:

Release Date:
December 25, 2002
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: December 4, 2012

Synopsis: An FBI agent hunts down a young con artist who successfully impersonated an airline pilot, doctor, and assistant attorney general, cashing more than $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in 26 countries.

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Catch Me if You Can - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

3 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
3.5 Stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - December 4, 2012
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: Region-free

Paramount’s fantastic fantastic 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode remains true to the creative palette of cinematographer Janusz Kaminski. With clean details and a wonderful use of lenses, Kaminski keeps the visuals lively and the transfer succeeds in capturing that momentum. The many locations are ripe with fine details and nice shadow play. Colors are rich and black levels are consistent and never fail to hold their shape in the darker moments of the film. Flesh tones are accurate throughout and the contrast is stylistically cranked up for a rather warm visual experience. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is alive with vivid atmosphere and great surround sound that gives John Williams’ score the perfect chance to express its self.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Paramount’s release is a bit of letdown as there are no new featurettes and nothing produced solely for this release. Everything here has been seen before on the DVD release of the film. First up is a standard making-of featurette with behind the scenes footage and interviews with the real Frank Abagnale. There’s a segmented making-of featurette that focuses on the cast. Interviews with DiCaprio, Hanks, Christopher Walken, Amy Adams, Nathanlie Baye, Jennifer Garner, and Amy Adams are included. A brief discussion with legendary film composer John Williams is included as well as an interview with the real Frank Abagnale. An interview with a former FBI investigator is included to comment on the film’s accuracy involving the FBI.

  • Behind the Camera (17 min)
  • Cast Me If You Can (30 min)
  • Scoring (5 min)
  • Frank Abagnale: Between Reality and Fiction (15 min)
  • The FBI Perspective (7 min)
  • In Closing (5 min)
  • Photo Gallery

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