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Catch a Fire (2006)



Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 142
Fresh: 107 | Rotten: 35

No stranger to the political thriller, director Phillip Noyce tackles apartheid and terrorism with experienced gusto, while Derek Luke and Tim Robbins hand in nuanced performances.


Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 43
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 11

No stranger to the political thriller, director Phillip Noyce tackles apartheid and terrorism with experienced gusto, while Derek Luke and Tim Robbins hand in nuanced performances.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 28,846

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on the real-life story of Patrick Chamusso, this political thriller spans the years from South Africa's turbulent 1980s to the present day. Patrick is an oil refinery employee and soccer player who is apolitical--until he and his wife are brutalized by government-sanctioned terror squads. Shocked into action, Patrick reorients his sense of self and purpose. Even as policeman Nic Vos further insinuates himself into the lives of Patrick and his family, Patrick becomes a rebel fighter and

Jan 30, 2007


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All Critics (146) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (107) | Rotten (35) | DVD (9)

At its best when making the most of the conflicts at the heart of apartheid.

March 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite Mr. Noyce's attempt to achieve a sense of balance and restraint, the material covers an overly familiar landscape with no special insight or sense of purpose.

November 1, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Catch a Fire ignites, incites and informs as few other movies of the fall do.

November 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Catch a Fire is confident enough to depict the battle from all sides.

November 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[The film is] complex. It's rich. I think it's well-done.

October 31, 2006 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Robbins tips the balance with his one-dimensional performance, and the earnest script follows in kind, settling for the sort of paternalistic take on black power and dignity that has dogged virtually every film like this.

October 28, 2006 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It doesn't quite have the adrenaline to be a great thriller, but Catch a Fire makes up for it with compelling characters and a genuinely important theme, skillfully told. There's not much else you can ask from a film than that.

March 10, 2011 Full Review Source:

Gritty apartheid drama pushes PG-13 limits.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

If Derek Luke's performance is anything to go by, than we might just have the next great actor of this generation.

July 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

Movies like Catch a Fire are perhaps the most banal sort to write about.

September 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

Noyce is now the favorite filmmaker of your local Amnesty International

July 2, 2009 Full Review Source: I.E. Weekly
I.E. Weekly the credits rolled, I did hope for more.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

Let us hope that Noyce's influence in Hollywood will help give this film the attention it deserves, and that his newfound activism will have some effect.

April 23, 2007 Full Review Source:

Sadly, it's all a bit of a Boer about 20 years past its sell-by date and tells us little we didn't know already.Catch a Fire's sluggishly paced plot refuses to come

March 30, 2007 Full Review Source: thelondonpaper

Featuring excllent performances from Luke and Robbins, Catch A Fire is a mature, thought provoking film.

March 23, 2007 Full Review Source:

Revolutionary struggle in a film uniquely focused on an ordinary but remarkable man.

March 21, 2007 Full Review Source: WBAI Web Radio
WBAI Web Radio

An intelligent thriller that effectively conveys the message that terrorism, even in apartheid-era South Africa, is rarely a black-and-white issue.

March 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Noyce's blockbuster tour of duty has equipped him with the skills to bring some of the 20th century's most resonant stories to the masses, dressed in the lean gloss of satisfying thrillers.

February 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Reeler

What biopics and issue-driven films could be if they had the guts to go beyond the easy answers.

February 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Actually serves as little else but agitprop for South Africa's ruling party . . .

January 10, 2007
SA Movie & DVD Magazine

The danger with films like Catch a Fire is that it wields the past purposefully as propaganda without tipping off the audience.

December 31, 2006 Full Review Source:

Apartheid revisited, less as a repugnant racist ideology than as an ethically ambivalent philosophy.

December 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Final Call
Final Call

A story of bigotry, hatred, rebellion, forgiveness and finally, healing.

December 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Though it was earnest in its heartfelt message, the film was not remarkable enough to make it memorable.

November 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A well-made and aggravating (in a good way) character study.

November 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Audience Reviews for Catch a Fire

3 3/4's..Decent bio-drama. A little rough around the edges, but decently done. Derek Luke does a fine job. The story of what happened in this country is never a dull one.
February 10, 2014

Super Reviewer

great film. derek luke and tim robbins put out two great performances and at times in the flick youre not sure which side to root for even though you know apartied is wrong. they really did this well and you can see the struggle of the opressed.
August 16, 2010
danny d

Super Reviewer

Liloh: And I realized nothing has changed. And I dont think South Africa will be ever Free from Whites and their terror against em.

This Movie was more than just a Movie. A great Friends recommendation and long review on her experience and the review on the movie made me watch this Movie twice.

Thank you Lilo
December 22, 2009
Wahida K

Super Reviewer

A well-documented thriller that features a powerhouse performance from Derek Luke as a man descending into hatred and rebellion after government wrecks his ideal life apart. Robbins gives a very restrained performance in this one, a little too restrained for my taste, however, this movie is all about Luke. It's a familiar setting, with a few turns in the plot that I didn't completely buy into, however, the positives outweigh the negatives here. The ending packs a swift emotional blow, especially seeing Luke being able to interact with the real Patrick Chamusso at the end of the film.
April 10, 2009
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

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