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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Catch Me Daddy movie review: nowhere to run

Catch Me Daddy red light

A lurid meatgrinder of a movie in which the young-woman protagonist is reduced to a passive object of male rage, greed, and possessiveness.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Laila (newcomer Sameena Jabeen Ahmed, whom I hope we see more of) has pink hair and painted nails and is living with her white boyfriend, Aaron (Connor McCarron), in a rundown camper outside a small rural Yorkshire town. She is not, we can see, a “good” Pakistani girl, and though life is hard and jobs are scarce and money is tight, she seems relatively happy. Until her brother, Zaheer (Ali Ahmad), shows up with two carloads of bounty hunters — and a trunk lined with plastic sheeting — to drag her home to their furious father in order to fix the “shame” she has brought the family with her deplorable self-determination. Up till this point, the first feature from writer (with Matthew Wolfe) and director Daniel Wolfe creates a palpable menace, though it does so by focusing far more on the bounty hunters — including one played by the always amazing Gary Lewis (Eragon) — than on Laila… and that sets the stage for the rest of the film. This is a lurid meatgrinder of a movie in which the villains are more developed than the ostensible protagonist, who is reduced to a passive object of male rage, greed, and possessiveness; the one action she is involved in that has any significant impact on the plot is an accident, not the result of a deliberate decision on her part, and at one point she is actually drugged into submission as she is dragged to the film’s deeply unsatisfying conclusion. Catch Me Daddy is a misleading title, implying a defiance and rebellion that is not on display here. If the film had any intention of criticizing a subculture that treats women like possessions, barely allowing its central character any room to breathe, much less act on her own behalf, is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If it merely wants to be exotic in its depiction of male assholery knowing no ethnic bounds, then that’s fairly reprehensible.

red light 1.5 stars

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Catch Me Daddy (2015)
US/Can release: Aug 07 2015 (VOD Sep 01 2015)
UK/Ire release: Feb 27 2015

MPAA: not rated
BBFC: rated 15 (very strong language, strong violence, drug use, threat)

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • RogerBW

    If the only answer the filmmaker can come up with for “woman is owned/protected by a bad man” is “woman could be owned/protected by a good man”, that implies a certain lack of creative thinking.

  • Andy Lane

    I really think you should see Laila as a positive female character; only 17, striking out on her own, taking the initiative when trying to escape the thugs, the one who gets up and actually goes to work, clearly the victim of an abusive home life yet remaining optimistic, finally returning home under duress to her controlling and abusive father – it’s the MEN who come out badly in this film, not Laila.

  • a

    Is this film bloody? I want to see it, but I hate movies that end on depressing notes, who would even want to watch that?

  • You should skip this.

  • Rhonda Rhymese

    So curious about this film. Will it be getting a Where Are The Women test and a cat review?

  • No. Why would you even ask that? A cat review? Seriously? WTF?

    It seems you are commenting under multiple Disqus accounts. And not even to ask anything interesting or provocative. Please don’t do that.

  • Rhonda

    Wow there obviously seems to be some butthurt with you, or should I say cunthurt cause you’re a proud woman? You’re so fucking uptight! I just asked a simple question and you blew it way out of proportion — you should just use your blowing skills to blow some man your age! (Which is 70 I presume?) Quit masturbating to womanhood and wake up! Give yourself a good tittywank and quit bathing in the superficial liquor of your faux-feminist entitlement, you asshole! (Or should I say cunthole?)

  • amy

    the film reduces her to that character because it depicts a reality that many women live. it’s nice to think “oh! well she should feel empowered”. well, in domestic abuse and violence situations often the case is learned helplessness. furthermore, focusing on the villain aspect is good because too many movies glamorize that lifestyle and here it is broken down to what it really is…horrifying.

  • Pablo Martin Podhorzer

    Yay feminism! Down with those brownies! The movie is terrible, good photography in the service of heightened racism. I don´t know who the filmmakers hate most: poor white folk or Pakistani migrants.

  • Pablo Martin Podhorzer

    Don´t watch it, it veers between violence porn and boring indie. Almost as bad as that uber-feminist piece with Scarlett Johansson, not the super-mind, the vagina dentata one.

  • Are you suggesting that Pakistani culture never treats women as less than human or grants women fewer rights than men?

  • You’re going to find an anti-feminist stance is not welcome round these parts.

  • Pablo Martin Podhorzer

    I know MaryAnn, I´ve been following you and the rest of the commentariat in various sites for years (I was banned from the Av Club, I think because the AV Club moved towards Jezebel, not because I moved to the right).

    I was disgusted after I finished the film, and I tried to understand why. I am a classical Marxist in the sociological sense. This movie rubbed me the wrong way in its depiction of the far-away English “fly-over” villages and the Pakistani family. Of course the director can say that it does not represent “all Pakistani families”, and of course something like this happens somewhere, but I felt that the movie generated anger towards a certain class and a certain ethnicity.

    About the Scarlett Johansson vagina dentata flick: it was widely praised and left me cold.

  • Pablo Martin Podhorzer

    Answered below.

  • I’m not sure what the “the Scarlett Johansson vagina dentata flick” is, but it doesn’t matter: it has no bearing on this movie or my review. I’m warning you that using “uber feminist” as some sort of insult is not welcome here, and I’ll also remind you to stay on topic and not try to drag the conversation into unrelated tangents.

  • Pablo Martin Podhorzer

    I was talking about “Under the Skin”. The rest of my comment was about the main theme of “Catch me Daddy”

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