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Catch a Fire

4.2 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the Director of Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger comes Catch a Fire, an action packed journey of sabotage, corruption, alienation and murder. Academy Award winner Tim Robbins (Mystic River, The Shawshank Redemption) and Derek Luke (Glory Road, Friday Night Lights) star in this suspense thriller based on a true story. Set against a country in flames and two cultures at war, Catch a Fire is the gripping account of the spark that ignited a man, inspired a revolution and united a country.


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. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary with Phillip Noyce, Robyn Slovo, Patrick Chamusso, Shawn Slovo, Tim Robbins, Derek Luke, and Bonnie Henna
  • Deleted Scenes

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Tim Robbins, Derek Luke, Bonnie Henna
    • Directors: Phillip Noyce
    • Writers: Shawn Slovo
    • Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Anthony Minghella, Robyn Slovo, Sydney Pollack
    • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
    • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
    • Dubbed: French
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      Parents Strongly Cautioned
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: September 7, 2010
    • Run Time: 97 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B000LC4C24
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,278 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Catch a Fire" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: DVD
    I had high hopes for this film; I mean I really wanted it to blow my mind. I'm a huge fan of Derek Luke and feel that he is a truly gifted actor, but despite his terrific performance this movie to me really failed to elevate past mundane popcorn fluff. I wasn't struck as I feel I could have or should have been beings the subject matter the movie embraces. I don't know if I'm alone in feeling that the movie came off a bit `made-for-TV' or `straight-to-video'. That was just my opinion I guess.

    The acting was top notch, especially on the part of the two male leads. Derek Luke gives so much humanity to Patrick that you're rooting for him 100%, but to me it was Tim Robbins who stole my attention. He did such a brilliant job of making Nic Vos seem almost caring and concerned. He did so well at this that at the end, when the real Patrick Chamusso is talking about Vos being a monster I found myself thinking "was he really that bad?"...yes he was, and Tim Robbins is really that good for making me doubt it.

    Another nod should go to Bonnie Mbuli for playing Derek's beautiful and distressed wife Precious. I mention beautiful because this young actress is undeniably stunning. She gave so much heart to her character that she remains the most memorable portion of the film to me.

    I'm not saying that this film was a waste of time, far from it. I exposed the horrors of the apartheid in South Africa, but it just failed to deliver what it could and should have. The acting was brilliant but I guess that blame should then fall on the writers and even the director for not channeling the brilliance of the cast and developing a stronger film. It's sad because a film that could have dominated the awards season will, I fear, be soon forgotten.
    Comment 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    South Africa, 1980.

    Patrick (Derek Luke, "Antwone Fisher ", "Glory Road"), a young father with a wife and two children, lives in a small house with his mother. He is very happy and has a good job as a foreman at a local refinery. In his off hours, he coaches a ragtag group of children in football. One day, traveling back from a wedding, they are stopped and questioned regarding an explosion at some railroad tracks. Patrick wants nothing to do with politics, because he knows it will jeopardize his family and his job. Later, Patrick takes his football team to a match and they win, so he stays over with them to compete in the finals. That evening, another explosion occurs at the plant where he works. Nic Voss (Tim Robbins), the head of the anti-terrorist team, brings him in for questioning. The same evening, Patrick visits an old girlfriend and his illegitimate son, and then lies about it, making him a suspect. Unable to get anywhere, Voss and his team take Patrick's wife in and torture her as well. Then Patrick confesses, but Nick knows he isn't telling the truth and lets him go. Fed up, Patrick decides to join the ANC, the African National Congress, and travels to Mozambique to begin training. Voss is determined to squash this group and soon learns that Patrick has joined up.

    "Catch a Fire", directed by Phillip Noyce ("Clear and Present Danger") is a very good film about the life of a real figure in the struggle for South Africa's independence from Apartheid.

    Derek Luke is very, very good as Patrick Chamusso. Patrick is so intent on living his life with his family, trying to provide for them, make sure they are happy, that he doesn't pay attention to politics.
    Read more ›
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    Format: DVD
    Catch a Fire centers around the true story of Patrick Chamusso, a South African man who works as a plant foreman and quietly keeps to his family and to himself, not getting involved in the protests and demonstrations against apartheid. But when a terrorist attack effects the plant where he works and he and his wife are brought in and tortured to get information, he realizes that there is no way of simply avoiding confrontation and joins a terrorist group.

    What's interesting about the film is how it presents two sides of the story, although, admittedly Chamusso is the central character. Tim Robbins plays Nic Vos, an anti-terrorist authority figure. We see Vos with his family and Robbins almost brings a sense of humanity to the character that makes you really see a man trapped in a point-of-view that he can't escape, and committing terrible acts because of this.

    Derek Luke does a tremendous job as Chamusso and throughout the film his intensity is contagious, adding more and more levels to the film, while Robbins' intensity meter matches Luke scene for scene. These two actors really carry the film, although the story is moving and the supporting cast definitely keep up.

    Catch a Fire is extremely relevant in a time when the United States is especially concerning itself with terrorism and trying to uncover terrorist cells. Seeing a film that presents the terrorist and the terrorist-hunter both as three-dimensional human characters really helps reminds us that this is not necessarily a black and white battle.

    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.
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