Reviewing the Reviews: 'Catch a Fire'

85942__fire_lHonestly, I’d much rather be reviewing the reviews for Saw III, but when they don’t screen the movie for critics, there’s no fun to be had by anyone. So, on to the apartheid-themed Catch a Fire, starring Derek Luke (pictured) as the South African family man wrongly accused of bombing the oil refinery he works at, and Tim Robbins as the tall man who tortures him.

The reviews are mixed. Often in the same sentence. Take this one from The Wall Street Journal‘s Joanne Kaufman: "An affecting story of punishment and crime, of betrayal and redemption marred by preachiness and a treacly ending, Catch a Fire is notable for its refusal to see things in terms of black and white." Or this one from The New York Times‘ Manohla Dargis: "Despite being reduced to hieroglyphs of gesture and grimace, Mr. Luke’s and Mr. Robbins’s performances nonetheless suggest a more interesting story than the one here, even if the cross-cutting that often brings them together does much to tear the film apart."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, however, (whose name I give 4 stars), gives it to us straight: "But subject matter aside, the movie is poorly made — both too simple and too opaque. At one point in the second hour, I realized I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on — everyone was running around the refinery planting and/or looking for bombs was my best guess — and I didn’t feel any pressing need to try to figure it out."

addCredit(“Catch a Fire: Garth Stead”)

Comments (3 total) Add your comment
  • Ep Sato

    Mandi, I feel you. The rants and nasty puns that one would have to sift through after reading a day’s worth of Saw III reviews WOULD be more interesting to read than what people have to say about Tim Robbins.
    Unless of course they make Bull Durham puns in the reviews about a torture movie. then I’d be all about it.
    Saw III wasn’t screened? 2006 should be called “the year the studios struck back…with really crappy movies”. The poster would of course feature Uwe Boll, who’s totally ducking me for the azz whuppin he know I’d give his poor directin’ azz.

  • Ep Sato

    I said Azz twice in the same sentence. My kingdom for an editor!

  • R.P.

    Starting with “Hotel Rwanda” and continuing with”Beyond Borders,” “Constant Gardner” (my vote for most overrated movie of the decade)and “Sahara”, Hollywood seems to be fascinated with the continent of Africa. We are getting so many films about Africa, not to mention 24 hour coverage of Angelina’s and Madonna’s treks back and forth throughout, that I for one, am not interested.

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