Thriller PG-13 Running time: 1:37
IMDB rating: 6.7 Aspect: Wide; Languages: English, French; Subtitles: English, French, Spanish; Audio: DD 5.1
Catch a Fire is an intelligent, fact-based apartheid thriller that tells the story of Patrick Chamusso (sympathetically played by Derek Luke), a South African wrongly accused, in 1980, of sabotaging the oil refinery where he worked. After both he and his wife are tortured by agents of the Boer government (led by a conflicted security chief played by Tim Robbins), Chamusso becomes a radicalized guerilla for the MK, or military wing, of the African National Congress. Filmed on the actual locations where its events took place, Catch a Fire bristles with urgent authenticity, its political cat-and-mouse game capably handled by director Philip Noyce, who applies the sensitivity of his acclaimed films Rabbit-Proof Fence and The Quiet American with the thriller expertise established in mainstream hits like Dead Calm and Patriot Games. The film's third-act shift toward conventional sabotage-and-manhunt plotting may seem jarring, but you can hardly blame Noyce and screenwriter Shawn Slovo (whose father led the MK when Chamusso joined) for sticking to the facts in a politically charged story handled with admirable humanity and compassion.