Catch Me Daddy
Daniel and Matthew Wolfe's hugely promising debut is both poetic and brutal
Positioned somewhere between a contemporary Romeo and Juliet and a fatalistic film noir, Catch Me Daddy marks a grimly impressive debut from music promo director Daniel Wolfe and his brother Matthew, who co-writes.
Cinematographer Robbie Ryan (Fish Tank, Philomena) offers a bleak vision of the Yorkshire Moors where teenager Laila (newcomer Sameena Jabeen Ahmed) and her boyfriend Aaron (Conor McCarron from Neds) have taken temporary sanctuary from her disapproving family. Damp, misty and full of foreboding, the moors possess an eerie silence, broken only by the howl of the wind or the patter of raindrops on the couple's caravan roof. It's a cinematic world that nods to Bruno Dumont, Terrence Malick and even David Lean.
Time is not on the side of the fugitive lovers as Laila's brother Zaheer (Ali Ahmad) is on their trail, intent on returning Laila to their father Tariq (Wasim Zakir) and avenging the family's honour. Gormless psycho Barry (Barry Nunney) and his coke-sniffing sidekick Tony (Gary Lewis) are also part of the posse gradually closing in.
A first half rich in atmosphere presents an unflinching portrait of a broken Britain populated by those barely maintaining their grip on life. These are dead-end existences where drugs are a currency and a comfort, any employment is unlikely to pay a living wage and class, race and family are the defining factors in the spectrum between despair and happiness. The fast-paced second half strays into more conventional thriller territory and is peppered with moments of shocking, blood-spattered violence.
Catch Me Daddy does have its flaws. Most of the Pakistani pursuers are little more than one-dimensional thugs and the ending is more likely to frustrate than intrigue, but this is still a British debut of great promise from a duo intent on matching poetic style with gritty substance.
Selected release from Fri 27 Feb.