In Louisiana, three women prepare for a drug heist. Tes (Malin Akerman), Dawn (Deborah Ann Woll), and Kara (Nikki Reed) work for Mel (Bruce Willis), a ruthless and powerful druglord. After botching a previous assignment, Mel gives his trusted associates one more chance: go to a diner out in the middle of nowhere, wait for the driver of a rival cartel, who’s carrying a large shipment of cocaine, hijack the truck, and bring the cocaine back to Mel.
Tes is the leader of the group, and she shares a trusted bond with Mel, Dawn just follows the blueprint for the plan without asking any questions, but Kara suspects something fishy. Dawn is able to play the role of a peacemaker after a heated argument between Tes and Kara, but the driver doesn’t show up, as Tes, Dawn, and Kara wait inside the diner.
Anxious and eager for answers, Tes decides to uncover the truth by drawing guns on the diner employees. During the standoff, Kara and Dawn are shot to death by a diner employee and a “truck driver,” but Tes emerges as the only survivor from Mel‘s group. Confused and devastated, Tes pressures Billy (Shea Whigham), the remaining diner employee, into telling her the truth, but Ronny‘s (Mel’s right hand man) unexpected appearance complicates Tes’ life-or-death dilemma. Ronny (Forest Whitaker) tries to convince Tes and Billy to drop their guns, but they refuse. Ronny pulls out his gun, and he urges Tes to kill Billy. Tes hesitates, as Billy explains the trap Mel set up, but Tes will have to make up her mind before it’s too late. Who will she choose? Billy or Ronny?
Bruce Willis is believable, as the cold-hearted drug lord. Tes is the strongest female character in this film, and Malin Akerman’s performance is spot on. I couldn’t comprehend the reason behind his Spanish accent, but Forest Whitaker is entertaining as Ronny.
Acting isn’t the problem here, because the cast is rock solid. But the nonlinear storyline is very, very, very, VERY annoying. The storytelling for Catch .44 isn’t cool or stylistic, it’s just fucking irritating. For example, they replay the standoff scene at the diner over and over and over again. Yes, I get the whole “we want to show you everything from different points of view” ideology, but come on, I don’t need to see the same fucking scene four or fives times.
Of course, if you make a crime drama with a nonlinear storyline now a days, you’re going to draw comparisons to Tarantino and Pulp Fiction (or Reservoir Dogs), it’s unavoidable. Was Aaron Harvey (the writer and director for this film) trying to mimic Tarantino’s style? Probably, because you can’t ignore the similarities, but if Harvey was trying to create a Tarantino-esque film, he failed. It’s that simple, and I can’t sugar coat it.
Also, the sidebar conversations and jokes in this film are TERRIBLE. The sidebar conversations aren’t funny, thought-provoking, or insightful, and they didn’t add anything to the story. Harvey opens Catch .44 with a pointless and unfunny conversation between Tes, Dawn, and Kara about leaving the toilet seat up and the rules of sex. Later on, Dawn tells this horribly corny joke about a priest, nuns, and the consequences for touching a man’s genitals. Maybe I just have a bad sense of humor, but I tired, and I still couldn’t laugh at this joke.
It’s a damn shame, because Catch .44 had the right cast, and a decent enough premise, but the ass-backwards style of storytelling is too frustrating. Catch .44 features a few scenes of graphic bloody violence, and during the beginning, the “who done it?” mystery is intriguing, but overall, Harvey’s attempt at creating a clever crime drama falls flat.
Final Rating: 2/10