Catch a Fire - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Catch a Fire Reviews

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June 22, 2016
Enthralling drama of one man's journey from injustice through violent revolt to redemption and forgiveness--a man who comes to realize that two wrongs don't make a right, life's most valuable lesson that many never learn.
January 7, 2016

This film stars Tim Robins (best known for "The Shawshank Redemption" and his Oscar winning performance in "Mystic River), and Derek Luke, a fine young African-American actor who's previous credits include "Antwone Fisher", "Friday Night Lights" and "Biker Boyz".

Based on true events, the film takes place in 1980 apartheid South Africa and tells the story of Patrick Chamusso (played by Derek Luke), a humble black South African oil refinery foreman who has two young daughters and a beautiful wife named Precious.

One day his simple life is torn apart when there is a bombing at the oil refinery and he is snatched from his home by the Gestapo-like Police Security who accuse him of being a part of the terrorist attack. He is imprisoned and viciously tortured by his interrogator Colonel Nic Vos (Tim Robins).

Vos is a well versed manipulator, that even goes so far as to bring Patrick home to his family for Sunday brunch where they make nice around a tense table and then Vos takes Patrick out into the backyard and continues to integrate him.

Still, Patrick proclaims his innocents and finally Vos stoops so low as to arrest and torture Patrick's lovely wife Precious. Patrick gives a false confession to save his family, but Vos, sensing that Patrick is innocent, releases him.

The lingering anger that wells inside of Patrick drives him to leave his family for Mozambique, where he joins up with the ANC and becomes a rebel political operative.

Australian director Philip Noyce ("Patriot Games" and "The Bone Collector"), creates an air of tension from the very first frames and his camera is intensely intimate as it explore the lives of the oppressed and the oppressors. The story moves along briskly and does it's best to avoid melodramatic pot holes as it races towards it's made for Hollywood, true-life ending.

Derek Luke is fabulous as Patrick, showing a great range of emotion and strength playing a man who is beaten down only to rise up again.

Tim Robins imbibes Vos with an intense, simmering evil as he slowly creeps under the skin of his interrogation victims.

I was only in my early 20's when I really started to take notice of the apartheid oppression that was smothering South Africa and I remember the pressure the rest of the world placed upon its government to treat all of its citizens as equals.

I also remember the end of South African apartheid, when Nelson Mandela was finally released form prison and de Clerk was forced to usher his country into the 20th century.

When I watched "Catch A Fire", with it's scenes of innocent people fighting against an evil regime, I couldn't help but compare it to the real life wars in the world today. History repeats itself with only subtle changes.
November 5, 2015
History says everything and this movie sure made a contribution. Luke is at his best !
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2015
Quite okey movie and its true story. Its about politics in africa and terrorism. Story is about Patrick which have a decent job in africa but gets problem later with his family and the anti-terrorism group (Tim Robbins) being after him. Worth seeing but slow some parts.
½ June 18, 2014
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.
April 14, 2014
wow ummmmn just seen this movie 4 the 1st time n think that this is a good movie 2 watch.......its got a good cast of actors/actressess throughout this movie......i think that tim robbins, derek luke, bonnie henna, Mncedisi Shabangu, Tumisho K. Masha, play good roles/parts throughout this movie.......i think that the director of this drama/musical/performing arts/mystery/suspense movie had done a good job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this movie......its got a good soundtrack throughout this movie.......i think that this is such a really powerful drama movie 2 watch with a great cast throughout this movie........i think that this is such an enjoyable movie 2 watch i think that this is such a really sad movie 2 watch it is such a really powerful drama movie 2 watch with a great cast throughout this movie.........i think that this is such a brilliant movie 2 watch it is a really powerful drama movie 2 watch its such a really well acted/written/directed movie 2 watch with a great cast throughout this movie......i think that this is just such a really sad movie 2 watch its got a great cast throughout this movie......i think that this is such a really sad movie 2 watch but its such a brilliant movie 2 watch i think that both tim robbins/ derek luke were brilliant throughout this movie.....i think that this is such a really sad movie 2 watch but its such a really powerful drama movie 2 watch with a great cast throughout this movie its such a brilliant movie 2 watch.......its got a good soundtrack throughout this movie.......i think that this is such a brilliant movie 2 watch with a great cast throughout this movie its such an enjoyable movie 2 watch with a great cast throughout this movie its such a really powerful drama movie 2 watch but its such an enjoyable movie 2 watch with a great cast throughout this movie.....
February 28, 2014
Catch a Fire caught my eye mostly as a Tim Robbins political thriller, but moreso as a film directed by acclaimed Australian film director Phillip Noyce.

Catch a Fire has its bumps along the road since the plot is rather slowly paced and the story is fairly basic and limited to a small space, but it's still enjoyable.
While the film takes place on a small scale despite being part of a significantly larger picture, there is no denying the intense and shocking effect of the political crimes that take place in Catch a Fire. Its material has all been explored before in other films on a larger and more intense scale, but in Catch a Fire director Phillip Noyce reminds us that his directional talent has not decreased in his many years as a filmmaker and that his ability to tackle apartheid and terrorism is intelligent and strong.
The drama in Catch a Fire is strikingly powerful most of the time, and while there are some periods of waiting around for massive drama to strike, Catch a Fire manages to keep its atmosphere intense thanks to the drama that the screenplay deals with in its story and dialogue, combined with the efforts of a dedicated cast and cinematography which is mostly claustrophobic and therefore enhancing the intense visual experience that Catch a Fire aims to be.
Combining Shawn Slovo's script with Phillip Noyce's direction, Catch a Fire turns out to be a surprisingly effective film which has a sufficient amount of drama to it to carry it through 101 minutes of cinema.
But the main source of success in Catch a Fire comes from the performances of the two lead actors.
Derek Luke's performance is one of absolute incredible strength which has a tenacious grip over all the intense political drama that Catch a Fire explores. In his finest performance since Antwone Fisher, Derek Luke manages to combine the intense elements of his character's physicality which comes naturally to him and comes out with a powerful effect. His talent is similar to Chiwetel Ejiofor's but played off in a significantly smaller scale film, and Derek Luke proves to make an intense lead with a real grasp over his character
Tim Robbins' South African accent is flawlessly convincing in Catch a Fire because it is never excessive or ridiculous, but rather realistic and sensible. He manages to integrate his accent finely into his line delivery and follow it up with the kind of intense stare that an actor like Dennis Quaid uses to convey intense drama. It works, and so Tim Robbins' dark and intense performance is one of his strongest since his Academy Award winning role in Mystic River from 2003. He has a real intense tenacity over his character and director Phillip Noyce ensures that he gets everything out of Tim Robbins that he truly can.

So Catch a Fire is an intense and excellently acted film with enough intelligence and strong direction to overshadow the faults of its pacing
Super Reviewer
½ February 10, 2014
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.
December 7, 2012
Worth finding and watching!
½ September 19, 2012
Fairly predictable, slightly mundane and a bit too "Tom Clancy"-like.
September 9, 2012
The true story of Patrick Chamusso, an apolitical rifinery worker in apartheid South Africa, who becomes an operative for Mandela's ANC after being brutalized by the government. A well written and acted film that explores how excessive and brutal responses to terrorism only creates more terrorists.
½ August 25, 2012
One of the best movies about South Africa during the troubles. Another winner from Phillip Noyce, one of the best directors of the '80's and '90's.
July 11, 2012
The bench mark for South African Aperteid films was set with the brillant Cry Freedom. Since then there has been few films made on the subject. Catch A Fire is a well told story. Tim Robbins is a great actor but miscast, seems nerves with the accent, also it is hard to work out his motive and generally the monatone speech is a problem. Derek Luke does well, but the lack of pace, energy and emotion, fails to grip the casual viewer of the important true story.
June 28, 2012
An interesting story, perhaps with a bit too much discontinuity. Derek Luke was great though, showing his range with a great departure from Boobie Miles.
June 10, 2012
I always enjoy watching movies about other country's political struggles, especially from those perspectives of folks who didn't set out necessarily to become involve. Perhaps, it is just the advocate in me who enjoys learning of other advocacies whether or not they are political in nature.
April 30, 2012
Good true story of how losing control can change your life
April 18, 2012
The trailer made it look a lot better than it is.
½ March 24, 2012
It starts well, but the ending leaves you feeling empty.
February 20, 2012
A must see film! I enjoyed this totally.
February 17, 2012
It seems to be some attempt to piggyback on Hotel Rwanda [which I'm sure it can't do], but I'd like to see it anyway. I like Derek Luke.
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