From the trailer and synopsis of Catch.er, it is fairly obvious that this is not ‘just another Nollywood comedy’. A welcome development in my opinion, as I’m constantly looking for good non-comedy content from an industry on a constant rise.
You see, from my observation of the film industry over the years, I’ve noticed that, while film making is quite an intricate art, there’s usually a class of films that meet a certain ‘audience loving formula’. So while these films could face horrible feedback from critics and could be tagged ‘shit’, they manage to be successful at the box office.
In the US right now it’s a lot of the big budget, explosion rocking, CGI heavy films and the numerous superhero sequels, while in Nigeria, our audience-pleaser is the comedy genre. Not subtle, dialogue based or satirical comedy, but heavy slapstick comedy that exhibits the Nigerian loudness. This, however, is conversation for another day!
Catch.er is directed by Walter ‘Waltbanger’ Taylaur, the ‘Agbero mind’ that brought us one of 2015’s most intriguing Nollywood features, Gbomo Gbomo Express. After making such a solid debut, you know we critics would have certain questions: Does Catch.er live up to expectations? Is it another failed attempt at making a non-comedy film in Nigeria? Does it narrate a tale worth spending time and resources on? Was Walter able to deliver on the level of Gbomo Gbomo Express or even better? The straight answer to that is…. for you to read on.
Catch.er tells the story of an ambitious career woman, who is murdered on her 1yr wedding anniversary. A sad narrative that leads to the usual suspect – her husband. But it would be too simple if he was the killer right? Or would it? Well, a police investigation is underway, revealing a few others in her life who may have strong motives.
I’m sure the above sounds like a good tale; well it is. And for one who likes puzzles, Catch.er was just what I needed for a chilled Sunday evening. A thrilling game of Whodunit!
Let me start with Cinematography and Lighting. If you’ve seen the trailer to Catch.er, you already know it’s not a ‘Bright / Colourful’ film. The play on lighting sets the right tone for the audience. This is literally not a laughing matter! A woman has been killed, and we need to figure out what happened.
Camera angles bring perspective; the camera is your eye to the narrative, and the angles you observe from are your source of revelation. Walter has a way of capturing moments from intriguing angles, focusing on certain subjects and objects to drive home a point, something I also really enjoyed in Gbomo Gbomo Express. Then there’s the transitioning as the tale unfolds; an area that needs so much work in Nollywood, but is executed really well with an underlying score that elevates the mood and flow of the film.
Another plus for Catch.er is the fine conduits picked to channel the characters. O.C Ukeje is gladly nobody’s love interest, but convincingly embodies his role as Detective Komolafe as he terrorizes his suspects. What he lacks in menacing looks, he makes up for in wits and a memory that ‘catches’ every lie told. He’s also not fazed by any of the suspects’ pleas of innocence, but digs like a consultant trying to un-cook doctored books.
Beverly Naya is our unlucky victim, Mrs. Abiodun Bello. What exactly has she done / who exactly has she pissed off enough, to want her dead. Apparently a few people, which makes it a heftier task to pinpoint her killer. You see, being an intelligent, driven, goody two shoes is hard work that breeds enemies, and Mrs. Bello has bred her fair share. In fact it appears like she’s so determined to die on this very day; the odds were definitely not in her favour. Beverly Naya has been showing some good chops in her last set of films, proving that where one puts in the work and with the right team, one can achieve magic.
Tope Tedela is the perfect ‘Officer Okoli’ to partner Detective Komolafe. He’s not as polished, maybe not as smart and maybe with an agenda of his own. But he’s a good example of someone trying to do a good job while milking all possible benefits from his position. Officer Tope!
Our suspects start with distraught husband, Mr Tony Bello played Alexx Ekubo. He has the misfortune of marrying up and ending up with a murdered wife. Of course, he’s going to be a suspect, who will inherit the fortune? Wouldn’t you suspect him? But did he do it? He’s not the straightest character so there’s a good chance he’s our culprit. Next up is co-worker Brume, played by Blossom Chukwujekwu! It appears Mrs Bello has caught him in a very compromising situation, but is it enough to warrant him killing her? Or could it be….There’s quite a few suspects, and finger pointing witnesses but I don’t want to reveal anything. What I can say though is that Omowunmi Dada as Eva and Wofaifada as Ireti killed their support roles.
Lest this comes across as a praise piece, Catch.er does have a few flaws. One being that it ended. But then again, one of my friends told me it wasn’t funny enough…… you now see why my first two paragraphs were important?
If you’ve seen the film, let me know what you think in the comments.