Catch a Fire (PG-13)

Drama 98 October 27, 2006
By Robert Wilonsky
The latest from director Phillip Noyce crams together the boom-boom political machinations of his Tom Clancy adaptations (Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games) with the intimate intricacies of his recent return to small-scale stuff (Rabbit-Proof Fence, The Quiet American); the studio's selling it as a firebombing thriller, when it's much, much more. And 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 in need of his wisdom and strength. It's the story of Patrick Chamusso (Derek Luke), a family man who intended no harm till harm was done to him. After the Secunda oil refinery at which Patrick's a keep-yer-head-down foreman is partially destroyed, Patrick's arrested, detained, and severely beaten by thugs who work for Security Branch Colonel Nic Vos (Tim Robbins), a family man who considers himself nothing more than a good soldier. As a true-life tale or metaphor for the making of martyrs, it's gripping stuff -- a big-scale thriller and small-scale heartbreaker about a man pushed too far.
Phillip Noyce Tim Robbins, Derek Luke, Bonnie Henna, Mncedisi Shabangu, Terry Pheto, Tumisho Masha, Sithembiso Khumalo, Michelle Burgers Shawn Slovo Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Robyn Slovo Focus Features

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