February 11th, 2022
MOVIE: CATCH THE FAIR ONE
STARRING: KALI REIS, KIMBERLY GUERRERO, KEVIN DUNN, DANIEL HENSHALL
DIRECTED BY: JOSEF KUBOTA WLADYKA
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
Catch the Fair One is a knockout. It’s a right hand cross that I never saw coming and I am often grateful when an independent film can pack a powerful punch. Writer and director Josef Kubota Wladyka has hit gold with lead actor Kali Reis, who is a professional and world champion boxer, and has also brought her own unique personal experience to this film. On top of those parts, Reis is also a damn good actor, no matter how limited the performance may be, she’s the real deal, in this thriller about a woman on a personal mission to rescue her sister from a sex trafficking ring. From the moment the bell sounds, Catch the Fair One is a tight and tense independent thriller.
The main character is Kaylee (Reis), a boxer, going through training, sparring, and looking to make her path as a champion. She sleeps in a women’s shelter, spending her days surviving, when not focusing on challengers in the ring, she’s looking for her sister Weeta, who went missing nearly two years ago. Kaylee checks in with her mom Jaya (Kimberly Guerrero), who helps indigenous people coping with loss, but Kaylee and her mom don’t get along, not able to move on from this traumatizing disappearance. When Kaylee finds a lead into a trafficking syndicate, one that might have abducted her sister, she goes undercover, posing as a woman in need of shelter, putting herself in harm’s way, and hellbent on finding her lost family member. It’s a palpable and terrifying thriller of one woman willing to go the distance to take down her sister’s captures.
From a production standpoint, Catch the Fair One has the look and aesthetics of an independent film, which is why it’s so good. It captures similar styles to films such as Red Rocket, or recently what I saw in Compartment No. 6, where the audience feels like we are walking in Kaylee’s shoes. The big praise belongs to the direction from Josef Kubota Wladyka, who finds a way to pace the action perfectly, where the journey of Kaylee begins with her in one place, and taking us into a terrifying world of sex trafficking. The character is placed in a truck with other women, herded like cattle, doped up by a trafficker named Danny (Michael Drayer). All the while Kaylee must keep her composure, armed with a hidden weapon, waiting for the right moment to strike.
The other atypical factor with Catch the Fair One is how it finds extra energy. The third act is where it feels like the balloon could deflate but instead it rises to another level. Kaylee’s journey goes from one sex trafficker to another, similar to a video game, her journey passes from one boss to the next. We meet Bobby (Daneil Henshall), who seems to be the benefactor of the business, while his own father Willie (Brian Dunn), has been the mystery man, hovering above the “business”. When she finally unleashes her fight with the assailants, constantly looking for Weeta, the pace of Catch the Fair One feels reminiscent of a movie like Wind River, mixed with what Jodie Foster did in The Brave One. It’s one woman’s battle, both internally and externally, with her life on the line, no matter what happens.
Catch the Fair One is an early 2022 surprise and a movie that highlights strong, independent storytelling. The background of Kali Reis merges perfectly in this film. She has dedicated her life outside the ring to helping indigenous women that have been battered or forced into a system of sex trafficking. She’s the real deal and the combo of Reis and director Josef Kubota Wladyka has brought together a thrilling, hard hitting movie, and those ones are always a welcome surprise. Catch the Fair One is a reminder that movies can be great. Get in the ring with this one.
CATCH THE FAIR ONE IS PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS AND AVAILABLE ON DEMAND FEBRUARY 11TH, 2022
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady