Saturday, 26 May 2012

Blu-Ray Review: Catch.44

Directed By: Aaron Harvey

Starring: Malin Akerman, Reila Aphrodite, Kevin Beard

When three sassy sisters-in-crime, Tes (Akerman), Kara (Reed) and Dawn (Woll), are sent by sleazy drug kingpin Mel (Willis) to rural Louisiana to intercept a lucrative dope deal, it looks like a walk in the park for the girls. But when the near-deserted roadside cafĂ© erupts into an orgy of deadly gunfire before the deal goes down it becomes apparent to all present that things aren’t quite what they seem. Whether the bloody carnage is the result of a tragic misunderstanding or something more sinister remains to be seen. Meanwhile, there’s a psychotic killer (Whitaker) on the road and there are no prizes for guessing where his journey will eventually end.

 Ok, who's idea was it to put in the worst meta reference in movie history?

I had a fair amount of faith in this movie before I put the disc in the player’s drawer. Then the character name cards came up and I groaned. Even then, I kept an open mind as I’ve seen some decent movies that have used this tired technique. Sadly, my open-minded attitude was not rewarded. 

The problem with movies based upon another filmmaker’s style is that they tend to be only a shallow representation of that artist’s work. That is so true for Catch 44. The influence of Tarantino is so overt that it’s used in the marketing campaign as a positive thing. The editing (on the whole) and the cinematography are sound but the rest is gimmicky and annoying. For example, the playing around with the timeline is more irritating than interesting. We don’t need to see the same clip three times over. This isn’t a Brannon Braga time travel episode of Star Trek. There’s an attempt to embellish the paper thin plot with the Tarantino inspired flourishes and it’s not enough.

Tension in the movie was non-existent thanks to the early reveal as to who would most probably survive. When characters are killed, we care very little about it because of a lack of depth to them.
What really lets this film down is the dialogue. Clearly trying to emulate the female dynamic in Death Proof, this movie fails to deliver an iota of the quality of dialogue from that film; it’s forced and the cussing doesn’t sound right at times. It just seems to be there for an effect that doesn’t work. 

I liked the soundtrack and the acting. Although seemingly acting in a different film to the one I was watching, Forest Whitaker was a joy to watch. His performance purposefully erratic, was entertaining and he put everything into it. It was clear that the filmmakers attempted to capture an element of No Country For Old Men and transplant it into the movie, with a travelling hitman that has a weird way of going about his business. 

 No Country for excellent genre actors

 If, like me, you’re used to seeing Bruce Willis in his tough guy roles then this movie will surprise as he gives a somewhat creepy performance in Catch 44, up until the end that is. Willis goes from eccentric sleazoid to cool and calculating crime boss easily.

 Stop staring at my chin!
The girls all do what they can with the material given. There’s little in the way of character development, except that we get a modest bit of background to Malin Akerman’s role, so much so you could be forgiven that this was a vehicle entirely devoted to upping her profile. Deborah Ann Woll, so good in True Blood, doesn’t get a chance to sink her fangs, I mean teeth, into her role. For an actress of her caliber, she’s just coasting in this.

 Yes, I'm the girl from True Blood
I did enjoy the flashback scene in the strip club when Akerman is hired by Willis. The dialogue works and the acting is very natural. Akerman does a great job of switching between seductive in this scene, to being basically what we’d call in the UK a “geezer bird”. Michael Rosenbaum is brilliant as the rich-kid wanting to make an indecent proposition.

 Are you staring at my boobs?
Brad Dourif appears almost as if he was an afterthought in a pick-up shoot. I came away thinking that it was another conceit of an attempt in creating a Tarantino clone, as the director is famous for bringing back stars that had previous success and public awareness, and had seemingly disappeared from mainstream cinema. 

 There was a spider in my trousers, ok?
I do wonder why on earth Whitaker and Willis got involved in this. From Moonlighting and the Die Hard films to a cameo in this? Odd, very odd. 
The soundtrack, using artists such as The Kills and The Ravenottes is top drawer and genuinely helps the visuals in a couple of scenes, especially the beginning credits. 

This is a poor man’s imitation of a Quentin Tarantino movie if the poor man was living in a New York gutter with only a newspaper as shelter. You might enjoy this, it just depends how fussy you are with what you watch. Yes, I’m stating the obvious ;o) Go to Flash-Bang Movie reviews for a very different take on the movie from MikeOutWest. If we agreed on everything, life would be very tedious.

Score: 4/10

Catch .44 can be bought from May 28th 2012 from all good retailers and probably some bad ones too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i dont like to comment, but your post made my day and so i shall!