Onur Tukel’s knockout satire Catfight could easily be subtitled, “A Comedy in Three Acts (of Sensational Violence).” When Veronica, a rich Soho wine mom (Sandra Oh) crosses paths with old college friend Ashley, a neurotic struggling artist (Anne Heche), underhanded compliments quickly give way to coma-inducing uppercuts. Two years later, Veronica wakes up to find she’s lost everything–but has gained a mortal enemy. Heche and Oh throw themselves into their roles–and at each other, delivering ferociously on the promise of the title. Between rounds, Catfight paints a bruisingly funny portrait of bourgeois dysfunction, ratcheting up the economic, racial, sexual and political resentment until mud-slinging explodes into mud-wrestling. Tukel delights as much in turning the tables on his snobbish protagonists–the idea of “punching up” has never been more painfully literal–as he does watching them bludgeon each other with the chairs. If a good comedy is supposed to leave you crying and gasping for breath, what we have here is the cinematic equivalent of a chokehold. Trust us: it’s a good thing.

Dir. Onur Tukel, 2016, DCP, 96 min.

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