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  Catch .44 Tarantedium
Year: 2011
Director: Aaron Harvey
Stars: Forest Whitaker, Bruce Willis, Malin Akerman, Nikki Reed, Deborah Ann Woll, Brad Dourif, Shea Whigham, Michael Rosenbaum, P.J. Marshall, Kevin Beard, Jill Stokesberry
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  2 (from 1 vote)
Review: Three young women were in a diner one night having a conversation about men, and the difference between faking it and compromising to get by in relationships: Tes (Malin Akerman) thinks the former is the way to go, and Dawn (Deborah Ann Woll) believes it's the latter, so they decide to agree to disagree as time is getting on and they still don't know where their contact is. They have been told by gangster boss Mel (Bruce Willis) to meet them there, but nothing is happening Tes is beginning to get antsy, so they pull out their guns and start demanding answers. Then one of them, Kara (Nikki Reed), is shot dead by the waitress.

There was a time in the nineties when Quentin Tarantino was the name to drop if you wanted to make an indie thriller. This didn't result in a rash of films as good as Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, unfortunately, it resulted in a bunch of lame rip-offs and wannabes who would have been better to find their own cinematic voice as their idol had, but you could understand why these writers and directors trod that path if it meant they could get something, anything, out there into the world with their names on it for who knew where that might lead? This brings us to 2011, when director Aaron Harvey offered up one of the tardiest Tartantino-influenced efforts yet.

Sadly for him, and for that matter for anyone who had the misfortune of watching it, quite why we needed one of these homages at that point was never made clear by what turned out to be grindingly tedious and derivative from beginning to end. Copying everything Tarantino would have done if he had a fraction of the inspiration, that included business from casting Bruce Willis (in a role he evidently completed in the space of a weekend) to the pop oldies on the soundtrack to most unforgivably the sort of dialogues and monologues which Quentin had made his stock in trade because in his hands it was thanks to making the characters sound as if they had something interesting going on in their heads.

In Harvey's hands it made for a ninety minute film which felt twice that length after acres of screamingly boring, never getting to the point chit-chat, and a cast of talented actors looking as if they were seriously slumming it. Forest Whitaker appeared to be proving that modern adage that after you get your Oscar the casting directors have a proportionately large amount of trouble putting you in a film worthy of you: call it the Adrien Brody effect (Halle Berry for the ladies), while promising up and comers like Deborah Ann Woll merely illustrated they needed the work and made you hope for something better around the corner. With a Mexican standoff, cut up flashback editing, and even a joke spun out inanely which the average five-year-old would find passé, nothing about Catch .44 justified its existence as its own entity, the only point of originality being a declaration of love which stood out for its utter lack of logic or motivation. On the other hand, if you liked weeping with crushing ennui, then this was the movie for you.

[Unlike the North American release, the UK Anchor Bay Blu-ray has no special features at all.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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