October 28, 2006

Movie Review: Catch a Fire

Catch a Fire is a real life story of standing up for what is right, even if the cost is great. It is a brave film in this day and age, especially in America. It is a story that, while aimed directly at doing the right thing no matter he cost, falls on the side of pro-terrorism. It is a fascinating dichotomy. On one hand you want to be the one who is doing the right thing, standing up and fighting against oppression, I am sure that all of you would agree that is thr right thing to do. On the other hand, the tactics employed are terrorist acts. Considering all that has happened over the past five years.

Patrick Chamusso (Derek Luke) is a man who has kept his head down and worked hard. He has a good job as a foreman at a large oil refinery, lovely wife and children, and coaches the local children's soccer team. He is not a man without problems, he had an affair which resulted in a son with another woman. The affair is over, but he still is involved with his son's life, and it is this relationship that casts suspicion upon him.

One day there is an explosion at the refinery, a decidedly terrorist act. This was a time when apartheid was in effect, a white government keeping the black population down. The government regime carried out kidnappings, torture and murder all in order to keep themselves in power. Patrick Chamusso was a victim of the government. He is arrested and tortured as a suspect, and when he doesn't give the answer they want, they torture his wife.

When he is released, he is a changed man. His eyes have been truly opened to the horrors that the governement perpetrates against the people of the nation. If they will do these awful things to its people for no reason, perhaps he should take a stand and give them a reason. He joins up with the resistance, at the cost of his family. He goes on to stage a bombing at his former employers.

On the other side is Nick Vox (Tim Robbins), a Colonel in the anti-terrorist unit and the man leading the interrogation of Patrick. He is a man who does his job, and will go to any length to achieve his end, while at the same time, being a loving family man. Nick and Patrick are similar men, the flip sides of the same coin.

Catch a Fire is a powerful movie. It gives a look into what was going on during this era of South Africa's history. I admit to not having much knowledge of the history of the country, but this gives a personal look into the era through the eyes of a patriot.

Derek Luke gives the performance of a lifetime. Luke gives a wonderfully intimate portrayal of a man who reaches a crossroads, a man pussed to the edge of what he can take, a man who decides to fight back. It is a powerful, moving performance that just draws you into his life. Tim Robbins gives a quiet, subdued performance, although I had a hard time listening to that accent. I must also mention Bonnie Henna, who plays Patrick's wife Precious. She gives a moving performance of a woman lost among the changes, struggling to make sense of what is going on.

Bottomline. Excellent movie. It puts a face on the struggle to end apartheid. It is a film that is carried on the strength of its acting. It is a movie that was unexpectedly moving. Catch a Fire is a movie that needs to be seen.

Highly Recommended.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


Post a Comment