CatchaFireMediocrity defined, this one. In fact, movies like Catch a Fire are perhaps the most banal sort to write about. There certainly aren’t any glowing aspects to report; the cinematography, while adequate, isn’t nearly as poetic as in Noyce’s Rabbit-Proof Fence, and the story as a whole lacks the lyrical quality that made Rabbit-Proof Fence so touching. And there aren’t really any groan-inducing moments to poke fun at. Catch a Fire just lazes at the edge of banality, never taking any chances to spice up a potentially engaging tale, but never resorting to enough hokum to spur an overly harsh review. Depicting a socially restless 1980′s South Africa, Catch a Fire is the story of young foreman Patrick (Derek Luke), who’s your African equivalent of your average American Joe. He works to support his pregnant wife, coaches a youth soccer league, and doesn’t really give a damn about his country’s politics until they’re smack in his face: one day, he and his wife Precious (Bonnie Henna) are wrongly tossed in jail by police Colonel Nic Vos (a hammy Tim Robbins) on suspicious of terrorism. The charges are eventually dropped, but the incident burns in the furious Patrick’s mind: he resolves to no longer ignore the political unrest around him, and take matters into his own hands to fight the oppression and prejudices. This all sounds wonderfully exciting, but the bland direction and choppy pacing prevent it from ever gripping its audience. The politics aren’t insulting, but they’re certainly undeveloped: aside from Robbins’ actions (and he’s hardly a villain), very little is really learned about South Africa’s policies and beliefs.

42/100