|Focus Features | Release Date: October 27, 2006||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
Screenwriter Shawn Slovo -- whose white parents were anti-apartheid activists in South Africa -- ends his finely tuned screenplay on a note not of violence and anger but of forgiveness. It's a breathtaking coda that reminds us of that undeniable human beauty: the ability to survive, to fight for right -- and then move peacefully on. Read full review
Comparisons to "Hotel Rwanda" make sense up to a point - both feature heroes who have the scales removed from their eyes - but "Fire" is no tearjerker, and here the story of Chamusso's conversion serves mainly as prologue to the main plot, a history-tinted cat-and-mouse policier in which he will attempt to finish the job he was wrongly accused of starting. Read full review
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.
Luke gives a powerful performance -- with his looks and talent, he should be a much bigger star -- but Robbins is the one you'll remember. Fixed with the faraway look of a doomed man who knows the center cannot hold, he gazes fearfully toward a future he knows is coming and can do nothing to stop. Read full review
In the end, Catch a Fire plays like some weird hybrid on the crazy-quilt filmography of Phillip Noyce, which includes small productions made in his native Australia and the Sharon Stone sexcapade "Sliver." What it's definitely not is the standard-issue movie about apartheid; there's no white protagonist, no pale-faced hero riding in on his high horse to save the oppressed black man. Read full review
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