Catch 44(released Dec/11)stars Bruce Willis as Mel,Forest Whitaker as Ronny,Malin Åkerman as Tes,Deborah Ann Woll as Dawn,Nikki Reed as Kara,and others in this tight little mix-it-up filmed in Louisiana.The film certainly betrays its low budget roots(most of the action takes place in side somewhere;a definite sign),but the production staff ends up pulling off what I think is a decent enough thriller/drama within the confines of its restrictions.
The story involves the boss Bruce Willis and his right hand man Forest Whitaker.Malin is a waitress in a dump of a strip club Willis runs,and Whitaker has a crush on her.She had been angling for a chance to meet the head man and finally gets it.After the meeting Willis hires her to do jobs for him.Malin hires two other girls,Woll and Reed,as her assistants.They mess up one job and move on to an interception of some drug money at a remote diner.They sit in the diner and the rendezvous time comes and goes.
At just after 3AM they get up and hold at gunpoint all the patrons and demanding to know where the truck is.After the dust settles both of Malin`s associates are dead and she is in a Mexican standoff with the cook,who also happens to work for Willis.In walks Whitaker who has been prowling the town and its environs for the last few hours.He killed a cop and had been riding in his car.He also had pulled over Malin and her friends earlier,but she didn`t recognize him.It seems she only met Whitaker for about 15 minutes when he originally took her to see the boss many years before.Now Whitaker is telling Malin he loves her and wants her to shoot the cook.She balks once but finally gets up enough nerve to shoot.As she suddenly turns towards Whitaker(we saw that coming a mile away!),the camera pulls outside.
Later,Willis finally arrives and finds the diner littered with bodies.He sits down in a booth,loaded gun on the table,across from Whitaker,who is bleeding from his left ear area.The movie up to this point had been plot jumping;reach one stage,jump back to explain events up to that point,go ahead a bit more and jump back to explain that,and so on.Well,this is the place where the movie initially came in.Willis tells Whitaker a parable about Running Bear,then after all is said and done,he shoots him dead.Before he leaves he puts the song of Running Bear(Johnny Preston)on the jukebox.As Willis is about to exit he hears the click of a trigger and looks around.Malin is still alive,and she shoots him.The camera leaps outside to Willis` chauffeur who hears two shots ring out.As he gets out of the car,gun in hand,Malin is there to disarm him and off she rides with the drug money on the seat beside her.
Willis plays his part well,as does Whitaker,who plays a psychotic,with multiple personalities beautifully.Everyone else does a good job also on the acting front.The film itself is done well,but there is just nothing here to suggest the wow factor.It goes along at a good clip,is executed nicely,but I just couldn`t see anything else in it that would make me give it any more marks than I did.
Technically the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:40:1 and is clear and crisp.The only extras are the trailer and some commentary.
All in all a decent enough thriller that is raised to a better level thanks to the performances of its main stars Willis and Whitaker.The rest of the cast does fine work also,but it isn`t enough to get this film any higher than 3 stars.