West Yorkshire is a tough area to find work, but it ought to be the perfect
spot to lay low. Unfortunately, it is not far enough off the grid for one
Pakistani woman and her Scots boyfriend. When discovered by her family and its
hired thugs, they have no other options except desperate flight in Daniel &
Matthew Wolfe’s Catch Me Daddy (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in metro Los Angeles.
Aaron is not the world’s greatest catch, but you cannot question his
willingness to commit. By continuing his relationship with Laila, he is knowingly
risking his life. As the film opens, he is far stricter when it comes to
security than the somewhat in-denial Laila. Of course, his concerns will be
vindicated when her brother Zaheer catches her flat-footed in their trailer. She
barely escapes in the subsequent struggle, rendezvousing with Aaron in town.
Her father’s associates and a pair of Anglo strong arm men follow hot on their
heels, looking for any weakness they might exploit.
parents simply endure it as best they can when their daughters get involved
with disappointing boyfriends, whereas Muslim fundamentalists, like Laila’s
restauranteur father, plot to murder their daughters and their forbidden
significant others. These are called “honor crimes,” but there is nothing honorable
about them. Although systemically under-reported, the number of recently
recorded honor crimes committed in the UK is significant enough for even the
BBC to take notice. Not surprisingly, Catch
touched a bit of a nerve with British audiences, even though the Wolfe
Brothers scrub the film of any references to Islam, leaving viewers with the impression
this must be some sort of dark manifestation of Punjabi culture.
the other hand, the warts-and-all depictions of Laila and Aaron are shrewdly
effective. Hardly idealized martyrs for pluralistic tolerance, they are realistically
messy and flawed, which is precisely why they do not deserve what lies in store
for them. Sameena Jabeen Ahmed’s lead performance is quite remarkable. At times
she is almost childlike, yet she must deal with some absolutely horrific
realities. As her less showy partner, Connor McCarron does yeoman work, keeping
their relationship and the film completely grounded. Gary Lewis also adds some
potent vinegar to the film, keeping the audience off balance with his portrayal
of Tony the cocaine addicted ruffian, who passes for the voice of reason
amongst Laila’s pursuers.
Catch is a strange film,
in that it wants to spotlight the prevalence of honor crimes, but it does not
want to address why they happen. Yet, it is hard to completely sweep the 800
pound gorilla under the rug. Indeed, the implications of Laila’s situation
speak for themselves, thanks to some extraordinary performances.
It is all wrapped up in a grittily striking
package, thanks in large measure to Robbie Ryan, who has already amassed a
filmography that suggests he will be one of the few cinematographers whose work
will become the stuff of future retrospectives. Catch just might be his best film to date (or at least the equal of
Wuthering Heights). He vividly captures
the desolation of the Yorkshire moors evoking a sense of moodier, revisionist
westerns. It is an aesthetically severe film, but it has considerable merit and
great urgency. Highly recommended overall, Catch
Me Daddy opens this Friday (8/7) in LA (Beverly Hills) at the Laemmle Music
Box and it screens this Saturday (8/8) in Williamsburg at Videology. Also note,
a VOD release is scheduled for 9/1 from Oscilloscope Laboratories.
Labels: British Cinema, Islamic Honor Killings, Robbie Ryan