Catch a Fire - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Catch a Fire Reviews

July 2, 2009
Noyce is now the favorite filmmaker of your local Amnesty International
Full Review | Original Score: C
March 23, 2007
At its best when making the most of the conflicts at the heart of apartheid.
November 1, 2006
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
Catch a Fire ignites, incites and informs as few other movies of the fall do.
Read More | Original Score: 3/5
November 1, 2006
Catch a Fire is confident enough to depict the battle from all sides.
October 31, 2006
[The film is] complex. It's rich. I think it's well-done.
October 28, 2006
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.
Read More | Original Score: C
October 28, 2006
Patrick Chamusso, the refinery foreman played by Derek Luke in Catch a Fire, brims with energy, whether he's dancing to a Donna Summer song or coaching the local youth soccer team.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
October 27, 2006
Smoothly directed by Phillip Noyce, the movie relies heavily on well-staged action sequences and two gifted actors to keep its familiar tale from appearing stale.
October 27, 2006
Noyce's straightforward, almost documentary style is especially effective, considering that so many incidents happened pretty much the way they're portrayed.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
October 27, 2006
Although Catch a Fire was clearly done for the right reasons, the movie dissipates its own tensions.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
October 27, 2006
A political thriller that thankfully sidesteps the offensive convention of exploring Africa's suffering through the eyes of a white protagonist.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
October 27, 2006
As long as there's oppression anywhere, well-told stories like this will always be relevant.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
October 27, 2006
Thanks to a terrifically shaded performance by Robbins, Vos comes across as a complex character with clearly ambivalent feelings about his task and his place in the apartheid system.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
October 27, 2006
Phillip Noyce is admirably restrained in his filmmaking; where other directors would assault the senses, he underplays the beatings Patrick endures without graphic detail.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
October 27, 2006
Catch a Fire could spark a few with this incendiary notion: Torture breeds terrorists.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
October 27, 2006
Catch a Fire is really a story of tangled loyalties, rather than the political thriller it is being dubiously sold as.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
October 27, 2006
Catch a Fire blurs the distinction between labels and resonates through today's global conflicts. More importantly, the film offers a taste of the desperation and fear behind the restrictions and the cruelty that whites forced on blacks.
Full Review | Original Score: B
October 27, 2006
Thanks to its incisive script and the excellent performances of Luke and Robbins, its primary characters are not just black and white, literally or figuratively, but instead are shaded and multidimensional, battling demons and conflicted as hell.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
October 27, 2006
Catch a Fire may not substantially expand our understanding of the apartheid era, but the look and feel of South Africa pervade this film, giving it enough vibrancy and impact to compensate for what feels familiar.
Read More | Original Score: B
October 27, 2006
The remarkable South African story Catch a Fire is more than capable of raising and exploring resonant political questions in a Western world obsessed with terrorism.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
October 27, 2006
Having first burst on the scene in his groundbreaking title role in Antwone Fisher, Luke delivers here a top-notch performance that is nuanced and layered, with just the right emotional punch.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
October 27, 2006
Phillip Noyce's Catch a Fire shares its name with the classic Bob Marley record. The record is better.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
October 26, 2006
An affecting story of punishment and crime, of betrayal and redemption marred by preachiness and a treacly ending, Catch a Fire is notable for its refusal to see things in terms of black and white.
October 26, 2006
Ultimately, [director Phillip Noyce] does a pretty good job of telling us the cost of freedom; he just can't quite put us inside the skin of the people who had to pay it.
October 26, 2006
Catch a Fire is a well-constructed action thriller elevated by (Derek) Luke's performance.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
October 26, 2006
It's possible to see a deeper level to what's on screen but, regardless of whether or not a viewer chooses to engage the film in that way, it's an effective piece of cinema.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
October 26, 2006
Derek Luke, best known for his Independent Spirit Award-winning lead performance in Antwone Fisher, brings a maturity, gravity and even fury to his richest role to date.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
October 26, 2006
The film never strays much beyond the obvious.
October 26, 2006
Luke is fine in the lead, proving that his good work in Antoine Fisher was no fluke.
Read More | Original Score: B
October 26, 2006
The characters are not plot-serving constructs, so they behave in ways that are often contradictory, much like real people.
Read More | Original Score: 4/5
October 26, 2006
The director Phillip Noyce revisits the ordeal of an ordinary black South African who became a foot soldier in the war against apartheid.
Read More | Original Score: 2/5
October 26, 2006
What's most riveting about Catch a Fire is the truth from which it springs.
October 26, 2006
[Dirctor Phillp Noyce's] goal earns him empathy. But the film goes further than that, creating an absorbing portrait of a peaceful, well-meaning man who is mistreated at every turn until he finally strikes back.
Read More | Original Score: 3.5/4
October 26, 2006
Philip Noyce's anti-apartheid drama is tense and thoughtful.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
October 26, 2006
Director Philip Noyce and screenwriter Shawn Slovo lean heavily into the thriller aspects of Chamusso's story, leaving much of the nuance to actors Derek Luke, Bonnie Henna and Tim Robbins.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
October 26, 2006
The action, political intrigue and marital tensions (which prove critical as the story unfolds) never quite coalesce into a compelling whole.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
October 26, 2006
The movie is poorly made -- both too simple and too opaque.
Read More | Original Score: C
October 26, 2006
As out-of-Africa dramas go these days, Catch a Fire is downright old-fashioned, a liberal political thriller about a noble black man who stands up to a white imperial monster.
October 25, 2006
Phillip Noyce embraces the tale with gusto, lighting up a picture that is as much a taut action saga as it is a cautionary history lesson.
Full Review | Original Score: B
October 24, 2006
It's the story of Patrick Chamusso, who intended no harm till harm was done to him. Fact is, he could be just about anyone anywhere -- South Africa, the Middle East, right next door.
September 23, 2006
This one's a nail-biter, a fast-paced, compulsively watchable political thriller.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
September 13, 2006
Impending history and potent music energize this Apartheid-era suspense film.
September 13, 2006
Stories of resistance to oppression will never become obsolete, but this feels like a picture that should have been made a long time ago.