cmd1What hits you first about Catch Me Daddy is Robbie Ryan’s cinematography; his rendering of Yorkshire turns it into a UK version of some vast badlands. It pushes you back into your seat, making you realize just how small we are and how tenuous our grip on life is. His camera finds moments of beauty for sure; but also shows the relentless, almost perversely willful ugliness of the low rent convenience stores and fast-food restaurants that play a not insignificant part in the plot. Places where people don’t bother with small talk; rather, you’re quickly gauged on whether you’re going to be a threat or not. The harshness of a life where there’s seemingly no desire to care about each other or appearances makes you feel cold and dead inside.

cmd2So that’s you all nicely set up to watch this film by brothers Daniel and Matthew Wolfe which is so full-on that you literally stagger out of the cinema afterwards. It’s hard to review Catch Me Daddy without being one big spoiler alert but I’ll try. To most of us the scenario of the tribulations of a couple hiding on the edge of the Yorkshire moors in winter in a trailer will be very remote from our cosy lives, where the biggest challenge on a day-to-day basis might be which artisan coffee shop to have a flat white from.

Laila, hauntingly played by Sameena Jabeen Ahmed, who deservedly got a Best British Newcomer award for her break-out performance, has run away from her family and is living with her white boyfriend in a tense little bubble-world. We hear a lot about the squeezed middle class these days – this is the squeezed underclass, one where nesting means attaching trippy fibre optic butterfly lights to your caravan walls to gaze at while you hit the bong. Laila’s doing a bit of cash-in-hand hairdressing which threatens to stop as her employer is pushing for her National Insurance number; boyfriend Aaron (Conor McCarron, who got his break-out in NEDS) is cotching at home, halfheartedly looking for work but finding it quite easy to live off Laila, testing the boundaries to see if he can step into the shoes as the next dominant male in her life and smoking the days away. Essentially they are still children, two little kids playing house; the set-up has the air of something that’s just waiting for grown-ups to rip their dreamworld apart. And this happens soon enough as Laila’s dad unleashes the hounds, a mixed-up gang of two white bouncers, Tony and Barry, in one car and the Asian posse in the other, consisting of her brother Zaheer, Shoby and Junaid, the official chief-in-command.

cmd3What happens next will leave you literally floored. Daniel and Matthew Wolfe’s film seems to me more than anything to be about the notion of family – no matter how objectionable you are, you desire to be part of one. No matter how objectionable the family is, your ties to it are strong, inescapable. Even tough man Junaid has a tender moment with his baby daughter. Some loose their family – one scene shows a visit to Tony’s dealer, a creepy guy clearly living alone in his high-rise man cave. Yet in his kitchen, a proud family photograph, suggesting that once upon a time this guy had a partner and children. Others in Catch Me Daddy choose to get rid of their family – but you’ll have to watch the film to discover who and how.

On UK release from 27th February 2015

Words by Anna Bang


anna bang, Catch Me Daddy, Conor McCarron, Daniel and Matthew Wolfe, NEDS, Robbie Ryan, Sameena Jabeen Ahmed,