Movie: Catch a Fire

Movie: Catch a Fire

Tim Robbins is the drawcard for this bio-pic of a South African freedom fighter. The main problem I saw with it was that it didn’t make apartheid seem like such a bad thing: more of a rallying point for the African people than a system of oppresion.

Sure, at the start of the film we see the kind of suffering that apartheid brought to black South Africans, at the resolution of the film, we’ve fast-forwarded to the present, where Apartheid has ended, but the blame is narrowly focussed against the Tim Robbins character, not against the whole government.

The film is a bit slow overall, and although I have no doubt that the story is worth telling, it felt like it was more a film to brag to others that you’ve seen than one that stands on its own merits.

Odd that the ad before the film was for South African travel: perhaps wanting to underscore the message that things have changed – but the ending of the film leaves no doubt there.

Seeing the way that various characters in the film were living made me better appreciate how much I have living in Sydney: the sheer wealth of hot-and-cold running water, of multiple rooms. The film’s message against a war on terror was also put through with the right mix of emotion and cold presentation of facts: are there interrogation techniques that must be ruled out? The Tim Robbins character doesn’t seem to think so, and yet has his own family that he takes care of, and even integrates into his work.

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