Frank Abagnale Jr. before he has turned 19 years old became one of the biggest conmen in America as he forged millions of dollars worth of checks while pretending to be a pilot, a doctor and then a lawyer. Chased by FBI agent Carl Hanratty who is determined to catch him!
Taking place in the 1960s when Frank Jr is still in High School he idolises his father Frank Sr who is in trouble with the IRS, when his parents separate he runs away to New York with only $25 in his account. He wants nothing more than to get his parents back together and help his father with money. It doesn’t take Frank long to realise that he can forge checks and make a lot of money doing just that.
When he sees Pilot’s are like god’s in the bank he manages to get a uniform and then a badge, posing as a pilot and managing to fly around different places. He has been flagged up by the FBI and Carl Hanratty is head of the case and determined to catch this fraudster. No begin with having no idea that he was still only a teenager.
Something I find super impressive with this film is how the build up of the chase actually has quite an early meet between the pair. Even though it still takes Carl a while from that moment to find out his actual name. Even though Frank at times kept his first name the last changed, although Barry Allen was a pretty clever one right? Linked to comic book superhero The Flash! This was the first hint that maybe the criminal was not as old as they first thought?
With Frank’s skill in forging the checks it also made him very important for the FBI following his arrest. It meant that he was very useful in telling them what is real and what is not. This led to him actually getting a job. Something that would be so unbelievable, expect it was very true! Quite amazing really that a 17 year old had the skill and charisma to be able to pull something like this off!
The fact this is all based on a very true story makes it even more amazing to be honest. I know Carl Hanratty is a made up name as the FBI agent actually involved with the case did not want his name used and Frank never actually saw or spoke to his father again, but I felt as though that was a good and nice addition to the film. Something that I imagine the real Frank wished could have happened. I have seen this film a few times over the years I feel it actually gets better with each viewing and the acting performances really should be applauded.
The cast in this film really is outstanding as well led by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, both work amazing together and apart. They are fine actors and I felt as though DiCaprio still managed to do so well with a character who was a teenager and because of his boyish looks still back in 2002 it works! Hanks is an actor that I find it hard to praise anymore, he is always amazing no matter on the role and that is something that really impresses me. The manner in which he approaches this role is brilliant. Especially with the knock knock joke! Then as support throughout we have such an amazing talent with Christopher Walken (scene stealing as always), Martin Sheen, Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner.