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Catch a Fire (7/10)

by Tony Medley

Good performances by Derek Luke and Tim Robbins highlight director Phillip Noyce’s tightly-paced thriller based on a true story of a South African in 1980 fighting against Afrikaner-imposed apartheid, although the timing and motive of a movie that glorifies terrorism to achieve a political goal is suspect considering what's going on in today’s world.

The fact that Noyce could produce a film that I could call “tightly paced” is a surprise after his slow and tendentious “The Quiet American” (2002).

Patrick Chamusso (Luke) is a relatively mild-mannered African trying to get along and do a good job as a foreman for the Secunda Oil Refinery. He’s also a coach for a local boys’ soccer team when he is arrested by Nic Vos (Robbins), a colonel in South Africa’s Police Security Branch, alleging that Patrick was a part of a sabotage of the refinery. Unfortunately, Patrick was out cheating on his beloved wife, Precious (Bonnie Henna), so can’t use his perfectly good alibi. Things go from bad to worse and Patrick becomes a freedom fighter.

This isn’t a bad movie. I just question the timing of a movie that justifies the use of terrorism to achieve a political result, even if it did happen this way. Other than that I found it entertaining.