Originally released at Cannes Film Festival in May of last year, Catch Me Daddy received a recent cinema run at select cinemas including Liverpool’s own FACT giving the public a chance to find out for themselves whether the festival season buzz was justified.
This topical thriller centres on a young adult from a Pakistani family who is forced to flee for her life when her excessively traditional father sends his son and a gang of hired thugs to enact an honour killing of her. The reason behind such a seemingly inhumane act is that she was dating outside of her race and religion.
The setting of the film is a particularly grim one, with the working-class post-industrial outposts of Sheffield and Leeds playing host to this high-stakes game of cat and mouse. The Yorkshire Moors is the only place that offers reprieve from the claustrophobia of city life but even the Moors possess dangers of their own.
Modern England is depicted, warts and all, in as depressingly realistic a way as possible. This adds another dimension to the film so that it becomes an interesting treatment of the environments in which deprived segments of society exist.
However, Catch Me Daddy is more than just a few well-choreographed snapshots of working-class British life as the film provides enough twists and turns to make sure that the action never stagnates. It is a truly gripping film that ensures your eyes stay firmly glued to the screen, even when you might not want them to such as during some of the films more unsettling scenes.
A bit of light entertainment this is not. The film is about as hard hitting as they come and it needs to be when dealing with such a serious topic. However, that’s not to say the film is entirely devoid of comedy as injecting humour as a counterpoint to the tension is one of the directors’ strongest attributes.
Take for instance the conversation about milkshakes in the fish and chip shop or when one of the would-be killers is discussing his experience with a parrot. This provides a fitting release from the hard-going drama of the tale and fits with its social realism, as life is not all bad after all.
Ultimately, Catch Me Daddy is a masterclass in social realism done right in British cinema and suggests there might be hope for home-grown film-making yet. If this film is anything to go by then long may British cinema’s dealing with weighty issues continue.
It really is must-watch stuff for those who enjoy socially engaged cinema but people looking for a bit of light entertainment of an afternoon may want to look elsewhere.