Starring Derek Luke, Tim Robbins, and Bonnie Henna

Directed by: Philip Noyce

Review by Dana Place


CATCH A FIRE is a touching and inspirational film based on the true life story of Patrick Chamusso, a South African citizen living during the period of Apartheid who was mistaken for an extremist determined to bring down the current government.  He ends up joining the group and using his knowledge of the oil refinery he worked at to bring the government to its knees.  Chamusso gives up his life and family to save a troubled nation under the oppressive grip of a racist government.

CATCH A FIRE seems like less a film released inside the state of California and more of someone’s obsession that against all odds would make it to the big screen.  You can see passion and determination all of the actors that could have very easily been pulled from pre-Mandela South Africa.  With the exception of its one noticeable actor, Tim Robbins (more about him in a second), this film could have very easily been hiding in someone’s closet for years.  The film feels like an authentic piece of a horrible history and that feeling carries you throughout the film, leaving you with a feeling of uneasiness and unabashed joy by the end of the film.  My only complaint is Tim Robbins.  As a South African expert in counterterrorism and interrogation, he is the only piece of the film that doesn’t seem to fit.  He is too well known and too distracting to be placed in a film that is trying to pull you into a moment and make you forget about your surroundings.  Also, whenever he speaks, his mumbling and vague accent takes some of the tension out of a few scenes of the film.  This film is an important look at a time in the history of South Africa that cannot be forgotten and deserves to be told with reverence and mature contemplation.  Phillip Noyce does a wonderful job using this film to tell a wonderfully poignant story.

Visit the official Universal Pictures CATCH A FIRE movie website by clicking here.

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