Catch me Daddy starts somewhere around the middle. Pakistani teenager, Laila (Sameena Jabeen Ahmed) and Scottish born Aaron (Connor McCarron) are in love but we never see how or what conspired for them to meet and fall head-over-heels for each other. All we know is that their love has forced them on the run from a father who does not approve of her daughter’s choice of partner.
He hires two groups – a gang of four South Asian men which includes his son and two caucasian muscle-for-hire bounty hunters – to hunt down the couple across an unnamed West Yorkshire town.
It’s a film of firsts: for director, Daniel Wolfe, screenwriter brother, Matthew Wolfie and for many of the principal actors featuring in their first film. The two leads playing the star-crossed lovers turn in strong, naturalistic performances and Barry Nunney is terrifying as white bounty hunter, Barry: a sort of northern English version of Anton Chigurh.
Catch Me Daddy is a brooding thriller not too dissimilar to the Coen Brothers’ No Country For Old Men, actually, violence never feels like its very far away and whenever it does escalate it packs a loud punch. There’s a desperate sadness that pervades the film – this isn’t fantasy and it is clear from the beginning that this isn’t going to end well for either Laila or Aaron. Their constant attempts to escape their chasers feels suffocating and helpless.
It is a fairly standard revenge film (or honour killing film, if you will) given added lyricism through some striking cinematography. The Wet Yorkshire moors are eerie, smoky landscapes as Laila and Aaron stagger through it like two ghosts drifting ominously into the unknown. And the urban areas have a strange decrepit beauty to them.
Catch Me Daddy hits its emotional high point about two-thirds in and never quite recovers from the emotional comedown. The final act feels awkward, as if Wolfe wasn’t sure where to take the film or how to steer it to a satisfying end. The denouement indulges in what feels like misery porn as the heartache seems to pile on and on. But it is nonetheless a strong debut feature and Catch Me Daddy demonstrates the clear makings of a director with a bright future ahead of him. (7)