I had intended to include 2002’s Catch Me If You Can in last year’s ‘Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films’ but alas I was unable to actually ‘catch it’. During one of its myriad outings on TV that is. Because it is the kind of film that is seemingly on all of the time. Except, apparently, when I actually want to watch it.
To be fair, that shouldn’t have mattered because I’m pretty sure I used to have a copy of the movie on DVD. But much like Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) struggles to locate Frank Abagnale Junior (Leonard DiCaprio) for the majority of the movie, so too I struggled to locate my DVD copy of the film.
So Spielberg’s crime caper didn’t make the cut last year, but it was one of the first films I pencilled in for this year’s assortment of adventures.
Because it really is an enjoyable film and well worth 141 minutes of anyone’s time. It’s an embellished fictionalized version of the exploits of the real-life con-man Frank Abagnale (whose criminal CV is nonetheless impressive) and, though there are plenty of poignant moments, it is, at its core, a film that never takes itself too seriously and there is plenty of levity throughout.
DiCaprio and Hanks are usually reliable performers and certainly don’t let anyone down here. The supporting cast is also pretty decent, with Amy Adams, and Martin Sheen amongst them. Christopher Walken probably offers the stand-out performance as the hapless Frank Abagnale Senior.
Score for Christmasishness
Though the film is not specifically set at Christmas time, many of the movie’s pivotal moments occur over the course of several Christmases and Christmas is a recurring motif throughout the story, not least the regular Christmas phone exchanges between the two leading characters. In addition, the first time we meet the Abagnale family, the ill-fated engagement, Abagnale’s eventual capture in France and his extradition back to the USA a year later all occur at Christmas time. It’s not an actual Christmas film by any stretch, but more than qualifies as Christmas(ish).