Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season

Cannes Review: Daniel Wolfe's Gorgeous But Unsatisfying Thriller/Social Realism Hybrid 'Catch Me Daddy'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist May 16, 2014 at 12:27PM

Though appearances in main Competition tend to be restricted to the Loaches and Leighs of the world, the British film industry has done well by the sidebars at Cannes in recent years. Films like "Hunger," "Sightseers" and "The Selfish Giant" all premiered in Un Certain Regard or Directors' Fortnight, and number among the very best films to come out of the U.K. in recent years.
0
Catch Me Daddy

Though appearances in main Competition tend to be restricted to the Loaches and Leighs of the world, the British film industry has done well by the sidebars at Cannes in recent years. Films like "Hunger," "Sightseers" and "The Selfish Giant" all premiered in Un Certain Regard or Directors' Fortnight, and number among the very best films to come out of the U.K. in recent years.

This year, along with Andrew Hulme's "Snow In Paradise," the hopes of Britannia rest on "Catch Me Daddy," screening at the Cannes Directors' Fortnight. The film marks the feature directorial debut of music video helmer Daniel Wolfe (who also co-wrote with his brother, Matthew, who in turn also scores the film, a close enough collaboration that the credits introduce the picture as "A Film By Daniel & Matthew Wolfe"), best known for his work with Plan B and perhaps most notably, that The Shoes video where Jake Gyllenhaal played a serial killer (watch it here). Centering around the button-pushing issues of honor killings in the Muslim community, it's an ambitious attempt to meld the kind of social realism that made the names of Andrea Arnold and Clio Barnard with a stripped-down genre thriller, an attempt that's only moderately successful, though it suggests Wolfe is a filmmaker of real promise.

On the Yorkshire moors, Billy, a coke-addled middle aged-man (Gary Lewis, best known for "Billy Elliot") is recruited for a job by Barry (Barry Nunney), a former nightclub bouncer. In Leeds, four men of Pakistani heritage, led by Zaheer (Ali Ahmad) assemble. And in a caravan on the outskirts of Sheffield, Laila (Sabeema Jameen Ahmed) and Aaron (Conor McCarron) are trying to live a quiet life, which mostly involves getting high off their faces on codeine. As it soon becomes clear, Laila ran away from her strict father to be with Aaron, and her brother Zaheer, newly returned from Pakistan, has been tasked with bringing her home. 

The opening scenes of the film, as the Wolfes put their pieces into play, are remarkably strong. There's a gritty authenticity to the world we're in, and every character gets a promising degree of texture as their part in proceedings is gradually revealed. Wolfe shows an admirable aversion to exposition, simply laying out events and trusting his audience enough to fill in the blanks. And it seems like the meld of genres is working, too. Even as Laila and Aaron seem happy and untroubled in the early scenes, there's an ominous note to proceedings, not least from the Chekhov's gun placed in Barry's glove compartment early on. As the investigations of Zaheer and co. bring them to Sheffield, ever closer to their quarries, the tension cranks up, and a magnetic, beautifully edited scene that crosscuts Laila and Aaron dancing together to Patti Smith's "Horses" with the approach of their hunters, is almost unbearable.

It's pretty much immediately after this point that the film starts to slide downhill, and what was once an intriguing meld becomes something closer to a straight-up chase thriller, as Aaron and Laila flee across the moors back to Leeds. It's still tense and exciting in the moment, but begins to strain the credulity the film's worked so hard to establish, with the characters becoming faceless pursuers, and Laila losing what little agency she had. It's still reasonably gripping stuff, but simply becomes less interesting as it goes on, culminating on an ambiguous note that feels less like it has a point to make, and more that the filmmakers had no idea how to end things.

It does squander a certain amount of its promise, then, but there is a lot of promise. Wolfe does have a great eye and feel for atmosphere, in part thanks to the contribution of Robbie Ryan ("Fish Tank," "Wuthering Heights," "Philomena"), one of the best cinematographers working today. Like many of the best DPs, darkness seems to interest Ryan as much as light as his career's developed, and the stunning, twi-lit work he does here might be his best ever. The score, by Matthew Wolfe and ambient musician Daniel Thomas Freeman, is also excellent, although song cues seem a little more randomly assembled, feeling more like a collection of the director's favorites rather than ones that fit the material (one of several things that perhaps emphasizes that this is a first film).

Wolfe also appears to have a real facility with actors, as the performances here are strong across the board, if occasionally a little hamstrung by the need to run and scream. In general, he's a director with enormous promise, one who could join the likes of Wheatley, Arnold and Peter Strickland in this new wave of British directors. We just hope he irons out some of the bumps with his second feature. [B]

Browse through all our coverage of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival by clicking here.


This article is related to: Cannes Directors' Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival, Reviews, Review, Catch Me Daddy


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates