Dave White
Catch a Fire Review

Dave's Rating:

4.0

… complicated …

Who's in It: Derek Luke, Tim Robbins, Bonnie Mbuli

The Basics: It's the true story of South African Patrick Chamusso (Luke) and how, in 1980, while apartheid was still happening, he was wrongly accused of committing a terrorist act. Then he was imprisoned and tortured for almost a year. And then — big surprise — he got out and joined the African National Congress and became radicalized.

What's the Deal? Seriously, the first half of this movie is like listening to Peter Gabriel's "Biko" over and over, and you wonder if it's just going to be a heavy-handed history lesson. But then the anger kicks in, and it gets complicated, asking moral questions of both the oppressors and the oppressed. You're not going to leave the theater happy to be alive, but you won't be insulted either.

How It's Like This Other Movie Called Paradise Now That You Probably Didn't See: That one's a Palestinian film about two suicide bombers and how crushing oppression creates the kind of people you end up fearing most.

Tim Robbins Loves His Guitar: He plays a white South African anti-terrorist official and stands by while Chamusso is terrorized. And just like in Bob Roberts, you see him sitting around strumming folk songs like he's a gentle, peaceful man, when in reality, he's Darth Vader with a Boer accent.

Taking Back Bob Marley: The other good thing about this movie is how it highlights the revolutionary quality of Marley's music. This is a nice change from hearing his songs in sports bars and watching them enjoyed by dumb college potheads.

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