Catch 44 is a movie that kind of exists in a similar cinematic universe to the movies of Quentin Tarantino. The same retro Americana, out of time hip world where The Bride, The Wolf, Mr. Pink and Vincent Vega reside.
So, as a massive fan of Tarantino’s movies, what parallels can I draw between Catch 44 and Quentin’s classics?
Sassy, Strong Women
Tarantino knows one thing about the exploitation movies he sometimes draws on for inspiration, these films may subject female characters to some politically incorrect indignities, but the gang molls and beaten down broads in classic grindhouse flicks are often strong, self-reliant and have the best lines. Tarantino gives women great dialogue and pivotal roles, Catch 44 centres the action around a threesome of wayward female crims who own a hip dictionary.
Post-Modern Super-Retro-Retro Ironic Americana?
I need to find one word for this. Ever notice that Tarantino movies set scenes in 50s themed diners rather than 50s diners? And that it’s hard to pin a date on anything? That everything exists at once in a fantasy land of fading gas station signage, late night timeless bars and small town dime stores (where the local sheriff is on first name terms with the shop assistant)? Catch 44 has that same sense of being just to the left of the real world, in a place where criminal honour allows the viewer to admire drug dealers, hit men and crime lords while they exchange cool dialogue in a beautifully lit diner booth.
Just the right music…
Tarantino is a past master of using classic pop, rock and soul music, along with snatches from little known soundtracks to help build his world. Catch 44 is a similarly cool movie jukebox, listen out for The Sweet’s classic glamstomper Fox On The Run is the early minutes of the film. It comes out of nowhere and had us punching the air.
Samuel L. Jackson and John Tranvolta can cause so much carnage and murder in Pulp Fiction and still leaving you thinking their basically stand up guys. Tarantino always does this, the complex, grey area bad guy. Bill is such a character. Evil and terrible, yet with so much charisma that his death is tragic. Look out for Forest Whittaker in this movie, essaying a pitch perfect performance in Tarantino-esque audience confusion, as he creates a character that is at once an ice cold killer-for-hire and a man driven by mad love with enough great lines and enough pathos that you cleave to him and pray he doesn’t take a bullet or ten himself.