Wednesday, February 9, 2022

She's tough and she means business

 It's appropriate to call Catch the Fair One a revenge movie.  But it's also necessary to mention that this is a revenge movie with a difference. In Catch the Fair One, real-life boxer Kali Reis plays a former champion who enters the world of sex trafficking to find a sister who has been abducted into the sex trade. Directed by Josef Kubota Wladyka, the movie focuses on a character named Kaylee, who acquired the nickname KO during her days in the ring. A woman of mixed background (Cape Verdean and Native American), Reis carries the film with a brutal determination that's impressive. When Kaylee duct tapes a sex-trafficking bigwig to a chair and tells him to talk, her ferocity is as convincing as a gut punch. The glare in her eyes says, "Don't mess with me," and it doesn't feel like a pose. Reis seems to be pulling her resolve from deep inside. Guilt-ridden about her missing sister, Kaylee sleeps with a razor blade in her mouth in what appears to be home for young women. Wladyka moves the story through scenes that aren't easy to watch, notably when Kaylee enters the sex-for-hire world to locate her sister. Kaylee eventually waterboards a sex-ring boss, slamming a knife into his thigh. Wladyka moves us through a variety of sleazy settings and serves up a chilly line when the big sex-ring boss tells Kaylee that she's naive if she thinks he remembers the names of girls for whom no one is looking.  Only Kaylee gives a damn.  Reis has been advocate for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls movement, which leads me to believe that Catch the Fair One springs from real  commitment. A commendable social agenda aside, brutality is still brutality and high purpose can't always redeem a movie that, like many in its genre, can  feel excessive. I won't reveal the ending, but I think it's meant to deny any easy redemption. If it's supposed to leave us distressed, it works.

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