Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Evanston Environment Board drops fossil fuels divestment, recommends updates to leaf blower ordinance
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Keep Away From ‘Fire’

Many films make it easy to sympathize with freedom fighters. There is something intensely appealing about the story of a person so desperate and maligned that he would sacrifice himself to further his cause.

Phillip Noyce’s new film Catch a Fire tries to reproduce the intensity of other films in the political thriller genre, but fails completely. But if you want to see Tim Robbins sing in Afrikaans, this may be the movie for you.

The film follows Patrick Chamusso’s transformation from children’s soccer coach to dastardly terrorist mastermind. He lives in 1980s South Africa, where Apartheid soldiers harass and kill blacks for fun. Chamusso is tortured by South African forces, but it’s when the anti-terrorism branch beats his wife that he decides to run off and abandon his needy family to become a terrorist. A few montages later, he is a prototypical terrorist assassin.

Played with way too much schtick by Derek Luke, Chamusso comes off as a little boy who makes stupid, self-destructive decisions. It is impossible to feel for Chamusso and his unfair predicament because Luke plays the character as cold and irrational.

Chamusso’s foil in the Apartheid anti-terror squad is Nic Voss (Robbins), an unfeeling psycho who enjoys playing acoustic guitar by the seashore and teaching his children to fire handguns at black men. Robbins merely cashes a paycheck in his portrayal of Voss, muttering his lines and looking generally displeased with being awake.

Neither character is well-defined. Both are intellectually impotent and somewhat deranged. Yet, the film lauds Chamusso and scorns Voss. I’m not sure if this is a result of the poor writing, tame direction or lame acting. For a film about Apartheid and rebellion, there is a definite lack of any valuable political or social commentary.

– Andrew Sheivachman

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Keep Away From ‘Fire’