Directed by Steven Spielberg starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Amy Adams, Martin Sheen and Nathalie Baye.
Frank Abagnale (Walken) and Frank Abagnale Junior (DiCaprio): romantics, dreamers, schemers - and everything else that the daily grind will try and knock out of you. When Frank Senior's business goes down the tubes and his marriage to wartime sweetheart Paula (Baye) follows close behind, the youngster decides to split the wreckage and live the life that Dad only wished for.
First he moves to New York, then scams a pilot's uniform, begins forging airline cheques and, taking up residency on jump seats, hops on flights all across the US. Soon the teenager's scams have become so audacious that the FBI are brought in, with Agent Carl Hanratty (Hanks) crossing the line between work and obsession as he tries to track Frank down.
After the bigger questions of 'AI' and 'Minority Report', 'Catch Me...' is Spielberg back having fun, creating a likeable if long caper with little lasting impact but some great individual scenes. Based on the true story of Abagnale's sprees and chases all over the world nearly 40 years ago, Spielberg captures that giddy optimism of 60's America where it seemed people only had to say something to make it true. And DiCaprio's Frank mouths off plenty: engineering one hustle after another so he moves from co-pilot to doctor to lawyer with the money, women and notoriety piling up with every single spoof.
Trying to pick up and put together the pieces is Hanks' live-for-the-job lawman whose attitude towards his quarry slowly turns to grudging respect as each offers the other a distant sense of companionship. Hanks is a good foil for DiCaprio's misfit, but his character is one dimensional and the scenes involving Walken and his onscreen son are far more effective than any involving the two leads.
Spielberg's familiar themes of isolation and family fill the story but the disappointment is that over 140 minutes, there aren't any strong women characters. Frank's mother is little more than a catalyst for the plot, we barely catch the name of any of his flings and when he finally becomes engaged the girl (Adams) and the storyline go by so quickly you wonder what the point was.
Yet even as the tone grows darker and Frank realises he can't dig himself any further into a hole, Spielberg doesn't lose sight of the humour at the story's centre and throws in some well-timed gags as the net closes in. And when it does, the ending provides you with the wryest smile of all.
Not classic Spielberg, but it lives up to its title.