Monday, 9 November 2015

Catch Me Daddy (2015) review

Don't judge a book by its cover, they say. As someone with a background in the arts though, I tend to throw that saying in the bin, and I will gladly indulge in some style-over-substance occasionally. Daniel Wolfe's Catch Me Daddy is one case of a pretty cover syndrome, with a psychedelic neon casing, including some incredible illustrations by Mu Pan, which attracted me like a magpie. While strongly influenced by the main character Laila (Sameena Jabeen Ahmed), it is in stark contrast to the generally grim look of the film.

Set in Yorkshire, Robbie Ryan (who was also the cinematographer of Slow West) focuses on making this film look as beautiful as he can, and in a film that has a lot of quiet stretched out scenes, you need that. Focusing on Laila, who has run away with her boyfriend Aaron (Connor McCarron) to live in a caravan, you soon learn that this is because her father has employed two sets of bounty hunters to track her down. Based around "honor killings", Catch Me Daddy attempts to show us barbarity of this practice.

The stand out character is Laila, with Ahmed portraying her as equally mournful and silly at times, as any other young woman would be. Characterisation in this film is not a strong point, however, with many of the male characters portraying just various aspects of the "bad guy" spectrum, although this just goes to highlight Laila's isolating position. Even Aaron, her apparent boyfriend, seems like a bit of a waster, and their relationship seems to based on mutual convenience as opposed to romance. While a film about honor killings should be an interesting examination of this horrifying tradition, the film seems to wimp out at the premise, focusing more on crying and killing instead of looking into either Laila or her father's mindset.

While I cannot doubt the beauty of this film - it does look amazing - it feels more like a missed opportunity, in which it refuses to to understand its very subject matter in preference of great lighting.



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