Catch Me Daddy
dir-scr Daniel Wolfe, Matthew Wolfe
prd Michael Elliott, Hayley Williams
with Sameena Jabeen Ahmed, Conor McCarron, Gary Lewis, Barry Nunney, Ali Ahmad, Anwar Hussain, Adnan Hussain, Shoby Kaman, Wasim Zakir, Nichola Burley, Kate Dickie, Adam Rayner
release UK 27.Feb.15
14/UK 1h47 StudioCanal
Catch Me Daddy
on the run: McCarron and Ahmed

lewis burley dickie
london film fest
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Catch Me Daddy Revealing its story in hints and fragments, and relying on some understanding from a clued-up audience, this dark dramatic thriller is so vividly made that any shortcomings in the uneven cast and jarring narrative are more than made up for in atmosphere. Not only is it genuinely terrifying and emotionally wrenching, but it also touches on a very important current issue.

In a trailer park on the edge of a Yorkshire town, young couple Laila and Aaron (Ahmed and McCarron) are making the most of their privacy as forces gather against them in the darkness outside. Laila's brother Zaheer (Ahmad) is back from Pakistan, arriving with three friends (Kaman and Anwar and Adnan Hussain) to convince her to return home. Meanwhile, Tony (Lewis) and his friend Barry (Nunney) are in pursuit just behind them, hired by Laila's dad (Zakir). Pushed into a corner, Laila and Aaron make a run for it.

Beautifully photographed by Robbie Ryan, the film has an observational style that relies more on imagery than dialog. Much of it is shot in close-up, with actors trying to deliver the most subtle performance possible. This means that the characters and plot feel oddly elusive. Each person has his or her own agenda, and working out what they're up to isn't easy, especially since the minimalistic lines are spoken in mumbled, thickly accented dialect. It helps to have seasoned pros like Lewis, Burley (as Laila's hairdresser boss) and Dickie (as Aaron's mum) on board.

And the film feels desperately urgent because Laila knows what awaits her: being murdered for dishonouring her father by running off with a Scottish boy. But writer-directors Daniela and Matthew Wolfe never quite come out and state this fact, so viewers unfamiliar with the horrific truth of honour killing might not understand the gravity of the situation or the reality of the social problem. The bigger picture only becomes clearer as the events escalate.

Fast-paced, edgy and bleak, this is an issue-based movie distilled to its essence: a prolonged chase driven by fear and paranoia. Honour killing is a crime justified by religious and cultural traditions that are essentially a smokescreen for violent sexism. So this deeply disturbing film demands attention as it slowly reveals its trajectory. But the vague approach leaves some performances feeling under-cooked. Most notably, Ahmed's more intense moments never find the needed emotional punch, especially in the provocative final scene.

cert 15 themes, language violence 16.Oct.15 lff

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