Derek Luke plays true-life story of anti-apartheid hero Patrick Chamusso in “Catch A Fire”

(Left to Right: Patrick Chamusso, with actors Bonnie Henna and Derek Luke, who brought his wife, Sofia, at the Premiere of "Catch A Fire" held at the Arclight Cinema on Sunset Blvd.)

“Catch A Fire” is a true story of Patrick Chamusso, an oil refinery foreman who was imprisoned, tortured and wrongly accused by the Boer administration in the 80’s for bombing at the Secunda oil installation plant in rural South Africa.

On the night the oil installation was bombed, Patrick was suspected of having given access to the outlawed African national Congress. Although, he loves his wife Precious (played by actress Bonnie Henna) and two daughters dearly, he had to seal his whereabouts after he left his soccer team where he was a soccer coach. Because of this, he was detained at an anti-terrorist interrogation center and was grilled by Security Branch Coronel Nic Vos (Tim Robbins) at the time the bomb exploded. It so happen that, that night he had to visit his son from a former fling. He does not want his wife to know about visiting his former family.

But when his wife was arrested and tortured, Patrick crossed the line of becoming a rebel. He returns to his native Mozambique to train in the MK, or military wing, of the ANC, run by Joe Slovo, the late father of present screenwriter Shawn Slovo, leaving his family, to land on his daring personal mission. After carrying out a successful sabotage mission he still ends up in jail, at the Robben Island for a decade. Now a free man, his true-life emotionally-charged journey to freedom is told vividly in this movie.

Well-directed by Phillip Noyce (“The Quiet American,” “Rabbit-Proof Fence) “Catch A Fire” is an an anti-apartheid emotionally engaging film, -- a thriller with a terrific performance from Derek Luke. Luke is winning as Patrick, an obviously sympathetic figure who appears in real-life docu footage at the end of the film, running the “Two Sisters” orphanage where he and his wife have foster-parented 80 orphans. Vividly cinematic, the natural sights and sounds of Africa have been vibrantly captured.
A the special screening held at the Fine Arts Theatre on Wilshire Blvd., real-life Patrick Chamusso, director of the film Phillip Noyce and his stars, Derek Luke and Bonnie Henna, were greeted enthusiastically with a standing ovation by critics and other attendees. “I can only watch the film only before the wedding, the rest – I can’t. To this day, it still haunts me looking back of what happened! I would see him (Vos) in my dreams -- but I’ve learned to forgive!” Chamusso mused, but actually in his funny mood telling how he first met Derek Luke and how the movie got made -- “I was expecting like a Spike Lee or a Denzel Washington who would portray me – and I see Derek Luke, so youn -- but looked fine” he added. “He started asking me many questions, but I only asked him one question – Do you know Beyonce (Knowles), the singer? We laughed! And when I met Tim Robbins – he was serious, and to me he doesn’t have a trace of being like a possible villain. I was thinking – couldn’t they get like Tommy Lee Jones or Jack Nicholson?” he comically mustered, and laughs filled the theatre.

“Catch A Fire” is being released nationwide by Focus Features.