Not every movie at a film festival is a winner. My wife and I go out of our way to find films that are unusual, quirky, foreign and very likely not to be widely distributed. We take our chances, and if, at the end of the festival, we can say that half of the films we saw were “good”, then we’re satisfied. Unfortunately, the North American premiere of I Catch a Terrible Cat fell well into the bottom half of this year’s Mill Valley Film Festival.
Written and directed by Rikiya Imaizumi, I Catch a Terrible Cat is the story of a father, his two children, their spouses and friends, whose relationships, we discover, are interconnected in a web of secrets and complexity. It’s a comedy with characters we do come to care about and has a good plot. it’s just too hard to enjoy it.
This film had the potential to earn a “A” rating. The story is very good and the cast is terrific. Moto Fuyuki, in the lead role, is particularly good. It’s funny, charming and touching. The characters are rich and well developed. The problem is that it’s so damn slow. There are two scenes that bookend the film that were shot in a bar and have real energy. But nearly everything in between is tedious. It picks up at the very end of its 130 minutes, but the first two-thirds are painful. Hey…it’s a style, and I see that it’s currently rated 7.2 stars on IMDB, but I just didn’t have the patience for it. I spent most of the film waiting for it to be over. The soundtrack is sparse, to be kind. The cinematography is flat and uninspired.
Perhaps I Catch a Terrible Cat works better by itself, when not surrounded by the fury of a film festival. But I’m afraid I have to recommend that you skip this one.