While I was watching Catch.44 it was apparent that it was trying to be like Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. They were trying to make a Tarantino movie. This is obvious from the start. It was shot out of sequence, and the characters seem like they would be in a Tarantino movie. They even go as far to attempt to capture his dialog. There is only one problem, only Tarantino can make a Tarantino movie. People have tried to copy his work, but no one has succeeded so far. I don’t think anyone ever will either. Catch.44 is no exception. You can just feel this movie wanted to be great.
The movie has a good enough plot to make a decent movie. Tes (Akerman), Kara (Nikki Reed), and Tara (Deborah Ann Woll) have a job to do. It seems simple enough. The three of them have to intercept a double-cross drug shipment for their crime boss Mel (Willis) at a very isolated diner. But when a series of events occur, it is apparent that nothing was what it seemed. So now everyone has to figure out the truth of what is really going on.
For everyone to find out what is happening, we get many flashbacks. Some work alright, and some don’t. The characters weren’t that interesting, and you never get invested in any of them. So by the end you aren’t really rotting for anyone at all. Where it truly fails though is the three-way standoff. Three people holding guns to each other and talking for quite a long time may have looked good on the script. But on screen it doesn’t work well. It did work well and manage to have some tension for the first few minutes or so. After that it just got old fast. It may have worked better if we really cared about any of the characters. Like I said though, we never get to attached to any of them. By the end of the standoff, we are just simply watching. There is no applause or tears over what happens.
The best thing about Catch.44 is easily the acting. Bruce Willis, Malin Akerman, and Forest Whitaker are excellent. They get to show off their acting chops, and it seems that they had a lot of fun playing these characters. Willis nails his character (while watching though I kept seeing his character as Butch, like he decided to change his name and become a mob boss). Akerman is really good, she gives one of her better performances. She does not act up to the level of Whitaker or Willis. But she still manages to hold her own pretty well. Whitaker gives the standout performance here. He is the one who really becomes the character. Without the great acting the movie would have been completely unwatchable.
The only reason this movie didn’t achieve the greatness it wanted (or at least be a good entertaining movie) is Aaron Harvey. Hate to but all the blame on him, but he is the one to blame. He directed the movie and wrote the screenplay. Those where the big faults of the movie, the directing, and the script. In the hands of a better director and screenwriter it could have been better. Harvey’s script is not all bad, but there are more bad spots than good. Maybe that long standoff could have worked with a great script. They were trying to copy Tarantino, and he has long scenes of just dialog that work so well. The opening scene of Inglorious Bastards for one.
Catch.44 is not all bad though. It does have it’s moments, and the acting was great. For the most part though it is boring to watch. This happens when you have lots of dialog and have a bad script. I did say it had it’s moments, but there are way more bad ones that tend to make you forget about the good ones. As soon as the movie has a good scene, it has some bad ones right after. Overall this movie did not work well, it was a mess. Right after I saw the movie I wanted to pop Reservoir Dogs in my DVD player straight away. It’s just not worth seeing a worse version of other great movies.