“Catch Me Daddy” has a couple obstacles to overcome, but if you can accept the challenge there’s a lot of good stuff in this British independent film. The first obstacle will be more difficult for American audiences and involves deciphering the thick Yorkshire accents. Generally, I’m pretty good with comprehending different accents, yet even I struggle with following all the dialogue, partly due to the combination of the accent, dropped words, and local slang. I’m not sure if the dialogue becomes clearer, the context proves more helpful, or if I just figure it out as the film continues, but by the later portion of the film, I am able to understand much more. If you’re one of those people who can’t comprehend thick accents, you may want to wait until September 1 when it is available on VOD so you could activate the closed captioning.
The next obstacle is pacing in the first act. At the onset, the pacing and plot appear to take a backseat to visualization, while cinematographer Robbie Ryan showcases some really cool shots displaying an array of color, visually striking objects and some intriguing angles that just add something really special to the film. However, at times it feels a bit overdone as the story putters along at a lethargic pace as a shot lingers longer than necessary. Hints that things will pick up keep you watching, and eventually the payout comes, but there is a bit of wondering when that will happen.
Hiding from her father, Pakistani Laila (Sameena Jabeen Ahmed) and her English boyfriend Aaron (Conor McCarron) live in a caravan (trailer-home) in West Yorkshire. When her brother (Ali Ahmad), accompanied by a motley band of thugs, arrives in town searching for her, things get complicated. Consequently, this is where the storyline and pacing transition into something far more captivating and exciting.
While the story provides a fair amount of intrigue and unexpected occurrences, the film could have benefited from a little more family backstory. Without it multiple theories arise as to the real motives for Tariq (Wasim Zakir) wanting to reunite with his daughter. While some references to the past occur, having more background on the relationships and the family dynamic would have served to better develop the characters and make some of the sequences even more powerful when they play out. My own theories may have negatively impacted my reaction to later moments in the film.
“Catch Me Daddy” conveys a genuinely authentic feel drawn from the locations and the cast. Hollywood glamour and artificial beauty, having no place in this world, are replaced by acne-faced boys and newcomer Sameena Jabeen Ahmed. These are beautifully real people struggling in real ways amidst the bleak scenery which accents the tone of the film.
“Catch Me Daddy” contains some powerful moments, reveals stunning yet authentic visuals, and throws in few surprises. All in all, it’s worth seeing, provided you can understand the heavily accented dialogue. If you think you can, you’ll want to catch it when it comes to theaters this weekend.