The trailer for Phillip Noyce‘s Catch a Fire (Focus Features, 10.27), which I had the pleasure of catching in rough-cut form a while back, and is another expression of a relatively recent, somewhat grittier aesthetic for a director once known for his expert helming of early to mid ’90s big-studio thrillers like Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.
Like The Quiet American and Rabbit-Proof Fence, Fire feels half exacting and half instinctual, which is a very tricky thing to pull off. It’s a South African political drama based on the true story of Patrick Chamusso (Derek Luke), an Average Joe laborer who became radicalized under the boot of apartheid in the early 1980s. And it feels like a South African film in the best possible sense of that term, like something discovered and written and made there by a native (or by someone very good at assimilating)…by someone who knows what the land smells like in the summer as you’re standing in some outlying area in the early evening.
Catch a Fire will play the Toronto Film Festival and I don’t know where else.