dir: Josef Kubota Wladyka
This is a pretty grim movie, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. A flick about a woman trying to find her sister who she suspects has been kidnapped and trafficked: There’s no gentle way to tell that story. Even Taika Waititi probably wouldn’t be able to inject such a tale with whimsy or goofy silliness.
Though I say that, and then I remember JoJo Rabbit, and then I remember that anything is possible.
Catch the Fair One doesn’t fuck around, and doesn’t give us a lot to distance ourselves from the horror of what the world, this world, is like. The main character of Kaylee (Kali Reis), is tormented, and so she is tormenting herself. Though she is a boxer by trade, and we watch her train, she isn’t training for the ring, at least in the present. We see some scenes set in the past, before her sister disappeared, and when Kaylee was training to win in the ring, and was something of a champion.
Now she is training in order to be able to take on the viciousness of the world she is forcing herself into, to be able to survive long enough to find her missing sister. She also, bizarrely, trains herself to be able to carry a razor blade inside her mouth without causing herself too much damage.
It helps, I guess, that she has cheek piercings?
That razor, ye gods, it’s grim, but it has a role to play. Like the old saying about Chekhov’s gun – a razor that appears in the 1st act of a movie is going to play some crucial role later in the 3rd act.
But it seems to play more of a role than just that: a tool or a weapon. It kinda feels like Kaylee, or KO as her trainer keeps calling her, deliberately inflicts pain on herself, not just to train, but because she feels like she deserves it.
We aren’t privy to the details of how her sister disappeared yet, but since Kaylee is pursuing her own investigation along the lines of sex traffickers, our strong assumption, like hers, is that her sister was kidnapped and sold somewhere, possibly up north. It’s not entirely clear where in the States this whole story is happening, it’s either one of the northern states or Canada proper.
This is specifically aimed at what is happening to vulnerable women in the States and Canada, and especially First Nations women, who are murdered or kidnapped, forced into sex work, treated like livestock, in this day and age, and the authorities seem to do little either because of the vast scale of the problem, because of racism, or because they actively don’t give a shit about women, First Nations or otherwise.