Catch a Fire

User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 18
  2. Negative: 2 out of 18
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  1. 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 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. Expand
  2. 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 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. Expand
  3. EddyG.
    Oct 23, 2006
    10
    Extremely powerful movie. Excellent.
  4. richardhaber
    Nov 2, 2006
    9
    Powerful and moving. An important historical film.
  5. TimidTimes
    Oct 29, 2006
    7
    A great movie for Tim Robbins to star in and another great movie about the history of Africa. However its no classic like "Cry Freedom" or "Hotel Rwanda". It seems to be looking for the blockbuster getters instead of focusing on the real issues at hand. It's an airbrushed ride through the case of a man. With a PG13 rating and a foggy stardom, it seems only to create havoc for many A great movie for Tim Robbins to star in and another great movie about the history of Africa. However its no classic like "Cry Freedom" or "Hotel Rwanda". It seems to be looking for the blockbuster getters instead of focusing on the real issues at hand. It's an airbrushed ride through the case of a man. With a PG13 rating and a foggy stardom, it seems only to create havoc for many audience members. But I enjoyed it and I think many people will too. Too bad it flopped in the box office. Expand
  6. Aug 11, 2011
    9
    Apartheid movies. I went into this one thinking that if youâ
  7. Mar 26, 2015
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. What is especially great about the film, is the very last scene, in which it starts out as Derek Luke as Patrick Chamusso, and finishes with the real-life Chamusso speaking. This is extremely effective in driving the point home that these events really occurred and that there are people out there who strive to make a difference in their environment. Expand
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. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    Stories of resistance to oppression will never become obsolete, but this feels like a picture that should have been made a long time ago.
  2. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    70
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    50
    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.