Honour Killing is a phrase becoming all too familiar with in the British media.
Stories of women, whose behaviour is deemed shameful are being mercilessly killed by their families. It is a bleak and harsh subject to use with in film yet more and more stories are making their way onto the screen.
The film centres on young Laila and her boyfriend Aaron as they hide away from their families in Yorkshire. Set on their path are two gangs, eager to catch the girl who has run away from her father and brother. As all the players grow ever closer together Laila’s circumstances become revealed with tragic and violent consequences.
The film and story are simplistic and plays out over a single day and night. The audience meet a young couple on a walk and through the films progression peels away at their situation. Laila is trying to make the best of her position while Aaron proves ever reluctant to make their life work. Their story is intercut with the pursuits of the gangs, one Asian led by Laila’s brother and one white hitman, hired by her father. The gangs slowly track down the pair and the net closes in on Laila.
The film has been done on a shoe string budget. The use of handheld cameras as well as naturalistic surroundings is evident. What the director has accomplished with Catch Me Daddy is to make this grainy and naturalistic setting the films aesthetic not it’s set back. Similar to what Danny Boyle did for Trainspotting, the lack of funds has not hindered the director’s vision but used it to create atmosphere and tone.
Although the film is dominated by its grainy look and dark subject matter, Wolfe has still crafted a beautifully shot film. Intercut with prepossessing shots of the Yorkshire landscape as well as brief moments of humour and tenderness. The film is bleak stuff and a happy ending is evidently never on the cards but this is a film built around the subject of honour killings. For Laila all options, including useless boyfriend Aaron, spell a harsh reality.
The film showcases mainly newcomer actors led by a brilliant and emotional Sameena Jabeen Ahmed as Laila. An amazing performance from one of the most striking looking young women you will ever see. Able to instil Laila with enough defiance and cockiness to give the audience hope yet her emotional and tragic circumstances are all too evident in the portrayal. Despite minimal dialogue, she dominates the film and every scene as a girl with no way out. The last scene in particular is astounding for an actress of so little experience.
She is matched by an understated yet brilliant Connor McCarron as boyfriend Aaron. From his introduction in the film it is clear that he is in over his head and too naïve to accept this. Not until pushed by harsh means does he accept the futility of his plan to keep Laila away from her family.
Although the ending may be clear from the start the Wolfe brothers have crafted an emotional and impressive debut feature. A compelling and beautifully shot film with a phenomenal young cast.
Catch Me Daddy is out February 27th