Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Catch Me Daddy

Bleak, misanthropic, grim, depressing, nihilistic, melancholic, sad. . .these are some of the adjectives that have been used to describe the film Catch Me Daddy released on DVD and itunes last week, which I am going to try to recommend to you despite all of that. A crime drama set in West Yorkshire Catch Me Daddy tells the story of a young couple on the run. The boy is Scottish, the girl a second generation Pakistani Brit and this, of course, is the rub. The girl's father not only wants to find her but he wants to murder her for running off with a non Muslim. Although the words "honour killing" aren't mentioned in the movie this is clearly the motor for the story. Beautiful, stark and minimalistic are three other adjectives I would use for Catch Me Daddy's cinematography and acting. There really isn't much of a plot here but the way the movie is shot and the performances from the largely untrained local cast are naturalistic and superb. There's a depth, honesty and integrity to these performances that the Cumberbatches and Cavills and Hiddlestones of this world will never reach in a million years. Indeed Catch Me Daddy might be the best acted and shot British film since Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank which also features an unknown lead actress and cinematographer Robbie Ryan. (Robbie Ryan has been the cinematographer on 3 of my favourite films of the last 3 years: Catch Me Daddy, Slow West and Fish Tank.) Daniel Wolfe directed Catch Me Daddy, wrote it with this brother and this is his debut feature after making a number of award winning music videos. 

Still this is tough material to watch and it isnt for the faint hearted. Peter Bradshaw writing in the Guardian calls Catch Me Daddy John Ford on the Yorkshire moors. I imagine he's thinking of The Searchers but if you'll recall The Searchers has some fine comic light relief moments from Ken Curtis. There is no such easing of the mood in Catch Me Daddy. This is an England of drugs and poverty and tribal loyalties and violence. This is an England where civilisation is broken and the moral law has failed and everything is going to the dogs. 

The soundtrack features 3 of my favourite songs - 1 mainstream hit and 2 cult classics. Patti's Smith's Horses is the one everyone should know (which plays during a dance sequence) but the other two songs which you might not know are My Name is Carnivale by the great and largely forgotten Jackson C Frank and Exuma's Dambala, which I haven't heard for years and years and which immediately reminded me of the sound of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.  Good music, beautiful imagery, great acting, tough noir story telling. Caveat emptor.