Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Catch a Fire

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving torture and abuse, violence and brief language.
Profanity:Some strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references, including adultery
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking
Violence/Scariness:Terrorism, torture
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving torture and abuse, violence and brief language.
Profanity: Some strong language
Nudity/Sex: Sexual references, including adultery
Alcohol/Drugs: Drinking
Violence/Scariness: Terrorism, torture
Diversity Issues: A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

A sizzling performance by Derek Luke ignites this story about Patrick Chamusso, a South African oil refinery worker who became caught up in the fight against apartheid.


Chamusso who did his best to stay out of trouble and care for his family. But as Trotsky said, “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” Wrongly accused of a terrorist attack at the refinery, he is captured and tortured. But it is when his wife Precious (Bonnie Henna) is also tortured that he becomes committed to doing anything he can — anything that is necessary — to bring down the racist regime. He leaves his family and goes to Mozambique to join the rebellious ANC forces and under their direction returns to plant a bomb in the refinery.


Tim Robbins plays secret police chief Nic Vos. Like Chamusso, fear for his family leads him to do terrible things. “Twenty-three million blacks to three million whites. We’re the underdogs. We’re the ones under attack,” he says. He has convinced himself that he is not a monster because he draws a line; he will not hold a man he knows to be innocent. But he is willing to torture people he knows to be innocent. He does not seem to do it because he thinks he will get information from them or frighten them away from fighting the system. He seems to do it to convince himself that these people are less than human. He does it to convince himself that he must do it.


If Vos is not a monster, Chamusso is not a saint. He has no alibi the first time he is captured because he was with an old girlfriend, the mother of his child, and his wife may leave him if she finds out. His pride and fear and her jealousy lead to imprisonment, torture, separation, and rebellion. Chamusso emphasizes that the acts he undertakes are designed to blow up equipment, not to injure anyone. But one side’s freedom fighter is the other side’s terrorist, and many people on both sides are killed. The worst betrayal Chamusso faces is not racism but something much more personal. And the biggest challenge he faces is not racism — or fear, or torture, or guns — but forgiveness.


Luke’s African accent is understated and his effortless grace shows real star power. He is utterly convincing and utterly compelling as an easy-going man devoted to his family who is transformed into someone who believes he has nothing left to lose. His performance is all the more wrenching because he resists the temptation to showboat. There are no heroics here, no grimaces of resignation and dedication. His emotions are complex, but they are pure.

Parents should know that this movie includes disturbing scenes of torture and terrorism. Many characters are killed. There is brief strong language and some drinking. A strength of the movie is its portrayal of the agonizing consequences of apartheid.


Families who see this film should talk about the origins of apartheid and the extraordinary story of Nelson Mandela and the non-violent transition to democracy. They should learn about South Africa’s pioneering Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a tribunal that focused on integrity and validation rather than retribution. What did Vos want most? What did Chamusso want? How did each explain to themselves and their families what they were doing? There is more information about the real-life Patrick Chamusso here.


Families who appreciate this movie will also appreciate Cry Freedom, with Denzel Washington as Steven Biko, Sarafina, Master Harold…And the Boys, and Hotel Rwanda.

Previous Posts

Fandango's New "We Love Movies" Program
Fandango, the nation’s leading digital destination for moviegoers with 36 million unique visitors per month, announced today the May 6 launch of “We Love Movies,” celebrating the joys of moviegoing. The summer-long program will feature ...

posted 8:42:32am Apr. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Exclusive Clip: Maya the Bee
The Adventures of Maya the Bee is a classic children's book from Germany, originally published more than 100 years ago, about a brave little bee who breaks the rules by leaving the hive but saves the day when she warns the bees about an ...

posted 8:00:51am Apr. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Dick Van Dyke to Guest Star on "The Middle"
My all-time favorite sitcom is "The Dick Van Dyke Show."  Though I've seen every episode many times, I still watch them on Hulu.  And some of the best were the ones featuring Van Dyke's real-life brother Jerry as Rob Petrie's brother, Stacy. ...

posted 8:00:06am Apr. 20, 2015 | read full post »

The Hobbit: The Definitive Movie Posters
The Hobbit: The Definitive Movie Posters is a gorgeous new book and a must-have for all would-be denizens of Middle Earth. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTI5XHs-odg[/youtube] ...

posted 3:16:48pm Apr. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Ebertfest #3 -- The "Ida" Panel
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk2--Y8hfqQ[/youtube] Thanks to Matt Zoller Seitz, Sheila O'Malley, and Todd Rendleman for our superb discussion about this year's Oscar winner for best foreign language movie, "Ida." ...

posted 8:59:24am Apr. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.