Director: Daniel Wolfe
Starring: Samenna Jabeen Admed, Connor McCarron, Gary Lewis, Wasim Zakir, Anwar Hussain, Barry Nunny
“Please Daddy! I’m your chum chum!”
“You’re not my daughter! You’re just a stranger to me.”
Laila (Samenna Jabeen Ahmed) is a pink haired, Pakistani teenager, on the run from her abusive father Tariq (Wasim Zakir) who has threatened to kill her. Laila has brought dishonor on her family by running away to live with her white drifter boyfriend Aaron (Connor McCarron). The pair live in a caravan near the Yorkshire Moors and survive off the limited income that Laila earns, working at a local hairdresser.
Laila’s father hires son Zaheer (Ali Ahmad) and Asian mobsters Junaid (Anwar Hussain), Bilal (Adnan Hussain) and Shoby (Shoby Kaman), to find his daughter and bring her back to him. For further reassurance, Laila’s father also recruits Tony (Billy Elliot’s Gary Lewis) and Barry (Barry Nunney), a pair of drug-addled British thugs, to assist in the operation.
Catch Me Daddy is a British thriller and is the debut feature from director Daniel Wolfe. Wolfe is best known for directing the music video “Time to Dance” by American pop band The Shoes, starring actor Jake Gyllenhall as a psychopathic killer. Despite his newcomer status, the strength of Wolfe’s direction is emphasised through the film’s captivating and frequent action sequences. Wolfe effectively conveys the fallout between the two rival posses, which results in a violent confrontation that leaves the audience gasping in horror.
Catch Me Daddy explores the racial tensions that exist in Britain and the barbaric practice of honor killings, a prevalent concern within the British Pakistani community. Daniel Wolfe is able to successfully convey these themes with the help of his brother Matthew, who co-wrote the film. However, it is cinematographer Robbie Ryan who truly brings the film to life. Ryan, known for his cinematic work in Philomena, captures the eye-catching and vast backdrop of the Yorkshire Moors and its eerie beauty.
Wolfe provides the audience with a couple of humorous moments, in an otherwise intense and confronting film. The interaction between Laila and the café owner is amusing, because of his overly positive nature. Laila is unable to comprehend the café owner’s demeanor and assumes that he is on drugs. The unnamed taxi driver (Shahid Ahmed) also provides a sense of hilarity in the film. The taxi driver complains to Laila and Aaron about how his children refuse to eat their food, an issue that is trivial when compared to the hardships that Laila and Aaron experience.
Despite Catch Me Daddy’s intriguing and confronting subject matter, the film was too long. The conversation between Laila and her father in the final scene came across as stilted, in an attempt to be suspenseful. There was also the issue of understanding dialogue in the film. At times, the thick British accents of some of the actors were difficult to understand, resulting in parts of the dialogue being lost in translation.
Nevertheless, Catch Me Daddy is a suspenseful and startling film that will have you hooked until the final credits. The film’s dark subject matter is enlightening because it explores the century old practice of honor killings, which is effectively conveyed by the director Daniel Wolfe. Catch Me Daddy also contains strong acting performances from the more established members of the cast, including lead actor Connor McCarron (Aaron), Gary Lewis (Tony) and Nichola Burley who plays Laila’s boss.
Rating: 4/5 stars