Melbourne 2014 Review: CATCH ME DADDY Imbues Stunning Tension And Displays Confident Direction

Editor; Australia (@Kwenton)
Melbourne 2014 Review: CATCH ME DADDY Imbues Stunning Tension And Displays Confident Direction
Director Daniel Wolfe came into recognition with his awesome music video Time To Dance for the band The Shoes. The clip featured a disturbed psychopath, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who, essentially, murdered hipsters who could not dance. This tongue-in-cheek idea was not played for laughs, however, and the results proved both strangely beautiful and troubling, the murders as visceral as anything a music video has produced, and the editing a bizarre, quick pace of reality and delusion.

This year, Wolfe premiered his debut feature, Catch Me Daddy, at Cannes. The film contains his signature style; searing violence, cool pacing, and the majority of elements found in his music work, from the roving camera and cluttered interiors to beautiful exteriors. Together, these components craft a truly disturbing screen presence. Wolfe has made a practically wordless film that lets the senses and emotions do all the talking.

The characters, a mix of Paki-English and Yorkshire men, mumble and speak with thick colloquialisms. In the session I saw, the Pakistan men are not subtitled when they speak their tongue. Although it was a technical error, it added to both the tension and mess of the situation.

The film plays out initially like a twisted Romeo and Juliet. The protagonist of the tale is Laila (Sameena Jabeen Ahmed), who has, for reasons not entirely clear, run away from her family and in particular her controlling father; a powerful figure we see only glimpses of. The film starts slowly, unraveling with zero exposition yet introducing the characters in this tale, all of them morally complex men, some even fathers, despite the fact they murder for money. Laila stays with her boyfriend Aaron (Conor McCarron) in a dilapidated caravan on the Yorkshire moors, hiding as far as they can from her fate.

The men the father dispatches to find her includes her brother and a posse of foul-mouthed gangsters. The film takes its time with both their search and Laila's night. In doing so, it realistically examines both the small and lower class communities, as well as the grounded expectations of finding Laila. The posse interrogate some villagers, and although they approach with pleasantries, there is always a violent intention lurking in almost every scene. When the men get a solid lead on Laila, the film begins proper, the action and tension ramp quickly, and the outcome of the search and pursuit leaves a bitter taste, as well as a traumatic final image that one will not soon forget.

This film is enhanced by the sublime cinematography of Robbie Ryan of Wuthering Heights fame. Like that film, he ensures Catch Me Daddy is raw, brutal and unforgiving in its presentation. The exteriors of the moors is a blacker-than-black affair as they run for their lives, the town lights and nightlife providing no comfort or protection, the interiors a claustrophobic mess of kitsch rubbish. Wolfe adds to these scenes with his penchant for superb sound design, from music and dance sequences to a stark juxtaposition of scenes of oppressive silence that work equally as well to build the tension to an unbearable level.

Catch Me Daddy is a brilliant and troubling work. The final scene is sure to completely divide audiences, but the utter confidence from Wolfe ensures each element of the tale is completely justified and not at all exploited. This phenomenal talent is certainly one to watch.

Catch Me Daddy

  • Daniel Wolfe
  • Daniel Wolfe
  • Matthew Wolfe
  • Sameena Jabeen Ahmed
  • Conor McCarron
  • Gary Lewis
  • Barry Nunney
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2014Catch Me DaddyDaniel WolfeIndieMelbourne International Film FestivalReviewMatthew WolfeSameena Jabeen AhmedConor McCarronGary LewisBarry NunneyDramaThriller

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