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Feature Review - Catch Me Daddy

By midlandsmovies, Mar 31 2015 02:27PM

Review - Catch Me Daddy (2015)

‘Catch Me Daddy’ is the debut feature film from the Wolfe brothers.

I have always been intrigued by directing sibling duos; due to the experiences I have had when watching a film with one of my siblings and the thorough cinematic conversations we embark on. Due to the family familiarity it can in some instances lead to great creative partnerships and fascinating projects may emerge, coupled with challenging story telling, on the other hand projects may descend into Liam and Noel-esque chaos with family members at each other’s throats. ‘Catch Me Daddy’ is however a testament to the wondrous magic sibling directors can create.

‘Catch Me Daddy’ focuses on main character Laila a young Pakistani girl forced into running away with her Northern white boyfriend Aaron. The films main theme is the recent ferocious social issue of ‘Honour Killings’ a term dubbed by British press due to the rise in females attempting to escape an oppressive family situation at all costs, and becoming fugitives ostracised from their own communities and families.

Although a strong political subject matter, the film takes a more personal approach focusing more on the human implication to an individual’s life, attempting to deal with their unfortunate set of circumstance.

The characters within are for the majority (bar a few: Connor McCaron playing Aaron previously in the Scottish troubled youth flick ‘Neds’ and Gary Lewis who plays Tony previously in Billy Elliot) played by street cast non-actors, found from ‘extensive street casting across Yorkshire and Lancashire, from snooker clubs to shisha bars. Bare knuckle fights to nail salons’ the main character Laila is played by Sammena Jabeen Ahmed who was streetcast when one of the crew Augusta Sakula-Barry documentary filmmaker and casting scout spotted her on the way home from work. In her first role Ahmed gives an incredible leading performance, covering every human emotion on the spectrum. Her unique mystical appearance with brightly dyed pink hair and colorful wide eyes tie into the entire tone of the film. Another character that stuck out for me was Barry (Nunney), the street cast Barry was spotted working at a scrap yard smiling and sporting a fluorescent hi-vis jacket. At first the directors didn’t believe Barry was right for the role, until a few months later they were running an open casting in a pub in Bradford when Barry walked in looking for someone that owed him money, the casting director filmed him and sent it over to the directors.

The landscape itself is almost another character within the film. Set across the Yorkshire moors, the diverse characters dwell within the small drab towns. The moors provide a bleak powerful stillness. Mountainous bogland stretches across wide-angle shots, with inner secluded hiding places, this makes the moors the perfect backdrop to the story. Characters glide over the landscape on winding roads through the fells in beaten Vauxhall astras, hunting their financial prize.

The Wolfe brothers spent months scouting the location of each shot-

‘We spent months up North, staying in Yorkshire. Trekking the moors, trekking satellite towns. In snooker clubs, takeaways, pubs. Chatting. Photographing. Trekking. Listening to stories. Exploring the world. This was me, Matthew and George Belfield (who shot second unit). Then we created a huge document. A mood board. Of stills, of film grabs, of paintings, of newspaper cuttings…The tumblr represents this in a weird way: http://catchmedaddyfilm.tumblr.com’

This idea of creating a particular tone transcends the film through every avenue and to its very core. Due to the harrowing subject matter and utter social realism the film would become overwhelming to the audience and monotonously cold, however the beautifully shot photography from cinematographer Robbie Ryan takes the story into a dreamlike sphere. Ryan’s work on ‘Catch Me Daddy’ is exceptional, shot in a soulful 35mm, petrol stations, nightclubs, bookies, salons, caravan parks usually drab locations are somehow given a new unique magical beauty. For instance Ryan has a knack to turn your mundane local chicken shop into a colorful neon lair fit for a villain. Grim boring architecture and familiar stale settings are transformed with rainbow flair. The film has a feeling of Ken Loach/Shane Meadows meets Gaspar Noe’s ‘Enter the Void’, although Catch Me Daddy is in its own right totally unique.

This dreamy tone provides escapism for the audience from the stark relentless subject matter. It is also similar to the two main characters drug use as a tool for escapism. The drug scenes are realistic codeine enthused evenings; youth depicted dabbling in hedonistic narcotic experience as a simple way out of their cold situation and landscape. Lights of cafes, gold fish tanks, turquoise nail polish in grimy gaffs coupled with intense sound design. The use of heightened sound design gives the audience the feeling of experiencing an opiate, intense sounds only heard when intoxicated with everything travelling at tortoise pace time. Stoned strolling through donut shops and dew soaked boggy grassland. Things take a sinister turn when bounty hunters are seen lining the boot of their car with plastic, slowly slicing with Stanley knives.

It is evident that Daniel and Matthew Wolfe and the entire crew spent meticulous precise detail throughout the film on every shot, every location, sound design, the use of non actors, the all round collaborative artistic effort from the focus puller to the editors, even the film poster has been beautifully painted by Brooklyn based illustrator Mu Pan, stating that Daniel rang the artist up after his brother stated he was a massive fan of Pan’s work.

After leaving the cinema from the late screening I attended I was rushing back to catch the last train home, the film had left me feeling a strong sense of anxiety and adrenaline, I heard a couple leave and discuss the same feeling. Sitting on the train home the usually tired chewing gum stained carriages had a new life and color to them. The film takes the audience on an emotional and visually stimulating fairground ride with twits and turns, moments of ecstasy coupled with moments of hopelessness and dread. In summary the all round collaborative creative effort makes this kaleidoscope twisting film a unique gem and an explosive debut.


Andrew Ollerton

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