Thursday, June 7, 2007

Catch a Fire...lots of fire

Catch a Fire - Phillip Noyce - 2006 - 7/10


The movie's first hour is divided between two drastically different South African families led by drastically different men. The first, is Patrick (Derek Luke), a foreman at the local power plant who does everything he can to keep his family out of the political fray while he keeps his one hobby - coaching football. The second man, is Colonel Nic Vos (Tim Robbins) who works for the anti-terrorism unit that is constantly searching for terrorists. The movie begins to diverge when after Patrick is released from Vos' interrogation, Patrick begins to seek out the resistance. This is a powerful movie that tries to show the heart of South Africa's Apartheid and does so with realistic scenes as well as the splicing of real footage. Patrick has two powerful lines that jar Vos - "what kind of man are you" and "how will your kids remember YOU?" They are lines that should not shake just Vos, but everyone, and they should be a standard for how we all live.


The movie was very good. A "straight" version with a black protagonist that turned out to be just a little bit less marketable than Blood Diamond. While Blood Diamond tackles simpler yet important themes like love, fatherhood, war, greed, Catch a Fire cuts to the quick and evokes a powerful image of totalitarian government, racism, and injustice. The themes Patrick tackles are what a man should do to do the right thing, to do what he can to forge change. The real footage at the end, of the real Patrick are very helpful in this end. Luke is great too, as Patrick, turning in a very solid performance that will continue to have me confuse Derek Luke with Djimon Honsou from Blood Diamond. I could have sword that Luke was the one from Gladiator, but that was really Djimon. All things aside, this is a very good movie that deals with a very important issue. Robbins is good too, a convincing antagonist and worthy adversary of Luke's who still has a dimension to him beyond that of a stone cold interrogator because of Robbins' work and his convinction and the scenes with his family. What made me love this movie is that it showed a real story of what happens when you push someone too much, when you prosecute the innocent - they start to fight back. Unintentionally (I think) this movie is a criticism of Guantanamo Bay and US measures that continue to CREATE soldiers swayed by radically anti-American forces. That is what happened here, and that is what the movie expertly shows - you take a model citizen and torture him, his family and threaten all that he holds dear, and he will become your mortal enemy.


If it's on tv, you better catch it.

If you liked this movie, watch...
...Blood Diamond
...Rabbit Proof Fence
...The Quiet American

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