At the core of this picture is British-Pakistani Laila (Sameena Jabeen Ahmed) , who is hiding out in West Yorkshire with her unemployed boyfriend Aaron (Connor McCarron). This very relationship is the reason behind their nervous solitude, as her father disapproves of her choice of partner, believing it to have brought shame upon their family. So he sends her brother Zaheer (Ali Ahmad) along with his unforgiving accomplices to undertake an honour killing, while they’ve also hired the caucasian duo Barry (Barry Nunney) and Tony (Gary Lewis) to assist them in their efforts – making for a deadly game of cat and mouse, as Laila and Aaron make a run for the Moors.
This unflinching debut for Wolfe is unrelenting from the word go, as the chase begins early into proceedings. To call this title intense would be something of an understatement, in what is a brutally disquieting watch. The filmmaker adds to this uncomfortable atmosphere by implementing lingering shots on predator animals, from snakes to lizards to sharks, they’re symbolic of this situation – which is effectively just one long hunt, and like watching a nature documentary, there is feeling of inevitability to this title, as you fear Laila and Aaron will struggle to be rid of the chasing pack.
The dark themes surrounding honour killings were explored in Shan Khan’s recent drama Honour, but Wolfe’s endeavour is far more accomplished a piece. It helps that we don’t have any reformed nazis for starters – while this takes a far more naturalistic approach, doing justice to this severe and relevant issue that exists. Instead Catch Me Daddy bears more similarities to productions by auteurs such as Shane Meadows and Clio Barnard, capturing the gritty sensibilities of Northern England, that lends itself so well to hard-hitting, kitchen-sink dramas of this ilk.
Though Wolfe deserves much commendation for this feature, and notably his distinct aptitude for structure and pacing – given the miserable, gruelling and uncompromising experience he puts the viewer through, you’d still be cautious as to give him too much praise – because for all of this film’s positives, it’s not one you’d quite like to sit through again.