Laila (Sameena Jabeen Ahmed) has run away from her family, and is living in relative peace in the unglamorous surroundings of the Yorkshire moors with her boyfriend Aaron (Connor McCarron). When her brother arrives at her door demanding she come home, Laila goes on the run, desperate not to return to the restrictive life her Pakistani father would impose on her.
Catch Me Daddy has a genuinely interesting idea at its heart; to focus on the so-called ‘honour killings’ carried out by some immigrant families when their children embrace Western vales is fascinating, but Daniel Wolfe’s film does not always make its message clear and, although it is beautifully shot, is patchy in places.
Since I am from North Yorkshire – yes, shocker I know – I can say this; it’s grim up North, and Catch Me Daddy does nothing to dissuade audiences of this idea. The cinematography, while masterfully shot by Robbie Ryan, shows Yorkshire to be an ugly and drab place in which to exist, and this is all Laila is allowed to do. The chemistry between Sameena Jabeen Ahmed and Connor McCarron as the young couple at the centre of the film is lovely, and definitely believable, but Laila is a character who is written with no ambition, so even though she escapes from the confines of her family, she never goes far, and spends her time working a dead end job and getting drunk.
The story, written by Daniel Wolfe and Matthew Wolfe, has a strong central idea, but it seems the rest of the film – the chases, the violence and the betrayals – were allowed to grow up around this idea with little foresight into what this would mean for the film. As well as this, the notion that Laila is being chased down because she has dishonoured her family is never expressly said, so some members of the audience may find themselves wondering why she is so determined not to visit her father.
Catch Me Daddy is directed like a horror film – which, in some ways it is – but this also serves to muddle the tone and ideas set out by the film. As mentioned, the film is well shot and carefully edited to give a feeling of exhilaration and fear, but he pacing of Catch Me Daddy is a mess, with many scenes drawn out and others skipped over, seemingly for no reason.
In all, Catch Me Daddy has a strong message at its heart, but this is lost through a wandering script, painful pacing and the film being infused with a horror feel. Sameena Jabeen Ahmed is strong as Laila and the cinematography is great, but Catch Me Daddy is slow and drawn out.