x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Catch .44: derivative in the extreme

This may be one of the most blatant works of plagiarism in recent cinema history, the film taken directly from the oeuvre of Quentin Tarantino.

Nikki Reed, left, and Deborah Ann Woll in Catch .44.
Nikki Reed, left, and Deborah Ann Woll in Catch .44.

Director: Aaron Harvey
Starring: Malin Åkerman, Bruce Willis, Forest Whitaker
*

It is hard to believe that the penny never dropped for Aaron Harvey, the writer-director of the low-fi crime-caper Catch .44.

Apparently, it didn't drop when he set his story around a botched robbery in a diner. It didn't drop when he cast a group of loose-talkin' chicks as the robbers.It didn't drop when he decided to tell the tale in non-linear chapters, nor when he compiled the jukebox soundtrack. It still hadn't dropped when he opted to spell-out the characters' names in huge yellow type over freeze-frames of their faces.

Either Harvey managed to forget that every stylistic and narrative trick his film attempts is taken directly from the oeuvre of one of the world's best-known filmmakers - Quentin Tarantino - or this is one of the most blatant works of plagiarism in recent cinema history.

The cameo from the Pulp Fiction star Willis indicates that Harvey knew exactly what he was doing, while the appearance of Whitaker suggests that Tarantino-regular Samuel L Jackson simply wasn't available that week. Not everything here is mined from Tarantino, however. Willis's idiosyncratic crime boss appears to be a close relation of the villain played by Gary Oldman in The Fifth Element, right down to the bizarre accent, facial hair and fondness for snacking.

Elsewhere in the film - which is difficult to follow only because it is so uninteresting - Åkerman lights-up the screen with her perfect Hollywood looks, but still fails to bring even an ounce of humanity to Harvey's vapid and breathtakingly unoriginal story.

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