It’s bold, it’s brilliant and it’s bloody good fun!
When two former college friends bump into each other neither of them could be prepared for what would happen next in Catfight.Often when a film comes out with two women at the centre battling against each other, the fight is usually over a man or some other frivolous nonsense. So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw how Catfight pitted two women against each other for no other reason than pure hate. It was brilliant. There’s no bitching behind each others back or snide, snarky gossip - it’s just pure, brutal, honest violence and it is awesome. Veronica and Ashley’s lives could not be any further apart - on the surface. Veronica (Sandra Oh) is a bit of a socialite enjoying the perks that having a rich husband provides; good red wine, a house keeper, a flash apartment in Soho and a house in the Hamptons.It’s not really an issue that her husband's success depends on the burgeoning war in the middle east, not as much as her son’s intent to become an artist. Veronica wants her son to focus on something proper, something more substantial that pays well. Ashely (Anne Heche) meanwhile is a loud mouth and outspoken artist depicting the world as bloody and gory but struggling to sell any of her pieces which her girlfriend, Lisa (Alicia Silverstone), frequently reminds her will not help pay the bills. Neither of these women could ever have imagined that a chance reunion at a party would change each of their lives forever in unimaginable ways.
There is so much packed into this film and every detail is organised to enhance the ridiculousness at the heart of the film. The film's writer and director, Onur Tukel, is without a doubt making a comment on the state of affairs in the US. The film is played out against the backdrop of a presidential election and an imminent war in the middle-east. The agenda is not at all subtle, quite the contrary, it’s 100% over the top but that’s the whole point.
The violence between the two women is similarly exaggerated with enhanced sound effects making you clench you teeth with each blow and wince with empathetic pain and all against a brilliant sound track ranging from Beethoven’s 5th Symphony to In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg (the Alton Towers theme).
The film is split into three distinct acts and each one is equally explosive. The writing is excellent and really plays up Oh and Heche’s strengths on screen. It’s witty, smart and satirical all at the same time without trying to be overly clever. I have been purposefully vague with the story line because it is so outlandish that to even hint any more than I have done would be a complete spoiler. But suffice to say, it’s one heck of ride!
Oh and Heche are sheer brilliance as they battle it out round after round
The two leading ladies are pure excellence on screen delivering no-holds-barred performances that are both entirely deplorable and hugely likeable. Oh’s Veronica is a borderline wino who’s husband finds her an embarrassment but still believes she is above most people around her as she delivers condescending remarks with ease. Heche’s Ashley has an aggressive and brutal persona and is a force to be reckoned with, especially when it comes to her art.
The supporting cast all work brilliantly to enhance each of the characters' personalities and add to the humour within the film; Ariel Kavoussi plays Sally, the cute, baby voiced assistant to Ashley who bares the brunt of Ashley’s temper but manages to get her own sweet revenge; Amy Hill has a small role as Aunt Charlie, a tree hugging lunatic who aptly names trees with befitting descriptions.
Catfight is a superb watch - it’s funny and brilliantly violent despite being a bit in your face at times (it’s definitely not one for the feint hearted). It’s unexpected and a complete shock to the system but a film that will have you laughing (and probably gasping) along the way and cleverly rooting for both women.
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