Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Both a condemnation of torture as a political tool and a tribute to the bravery that exists within everyone.
  2. Philip Noyce's anti-apartheid drama is tense and thoughtful, if somewhat marred by Hollywood-style thrills.
User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Aug 11, 2011
    9
    Apartheid movies. I went into this one thinking that if youâ
  2. JasonE.
    Mar 7, 2007
    6
    Despite its obvious well-meaning humanistic intentions, "Catch a Fire" remains mired in genre trafficking despite its ambitions to convey the power of self-realization. By repeatedly flushing the screen with the hopeful, joyous chantings/dances of the saintly natives he overshadows the smaller personal story of one man's triumphs over his own mild-mannered acquience to the injustices that plague his nation. Robbins adds a stern introspection that adds slight dynamicism to this otherwise didactic tale. Full Review »
  3. ChadS.
    Nov 3, 2006
    8
    When Patrick Chamusso (Derek Luke) reaches ANC headquarters, it'll become crystal clear as to why "Catch a Fire" does the story of apartheid some justice. We meet Joe Slovo (Malcolm Purkey), leader of the South African Communist Party, who easily could've been the male protagonist in another film. Thankfully, the filmmaker didn't Alan Parker this baby, and allowed a black man to tell the story of his own reduction. To make allowance for this box office-killing gambit, unfortunately, there's an action scene that seems phoned in from another movie, seemingly, as some sort of cockamamie compromise to give apartheid some sizzle. If you're going to use bombast, use it to honor the memory of the dead, not some flick starring Harrison Ford in full sweat-mode. When depicting the violence that pervaded apartheid, "Catch a Fire" lacks that one defining moment in which we see and feel the monstrous evil of this government-sanctioned racism. It's okay for Patrick to be a bigamist, and Nic Vos (Tim Robbins) to be a good family man (we want complexity in our characters), but apartheid itself should be painted in broader strokes. It pulls back on the blood, which prevents the audience from a few hours of rabble-rousing after leaving the cineplex. In "Mississippi Burning", the ugliness of slavery becomes all-too-visceral when some klansman kicks a young boy in the face. "Catch a Fire" lacks such a moment. Full Review »