By Mandi Bierly
October 27, 2006 at 05:26 PM EDT

Honestly, I’d much rather be reviewing the reviews for Saw III, but when they don’t screen the movie for critics, there’s no fun to be had by anyone. So, on to the apartheid-themed Catch a Fire, starring Derek Luke (pictured) as the South African family man wrongly accused of bombing the oil refinery he works at, and Tim Robbins as the tall man who tortures him.

The reviews are mixed. Often in the same sentence. Take this one from The Wall Street Journal‘s Joanne Kaufman: “An affecting story of punishment and crime, of betrayal and redemption marred by preachiness and a treacly ending, Catch a Fire is notable for its refusal to see things in terms of black and white.” Or this one from The New York Times‘ Manohla Dargis: “Despite being reduced to hieroglyphs of gesture and grimace, Mr. Luke’s and Mr. Robbins’s performances nonetheless suggest a more interesting story than the one here, even if the cross-cutting that often brings them together does much to tear the film apart.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, however, (whose name I give 4 stars), gives it to us straight: “But subject matter aside, the movie is poorly made — both too simple and too opaque. At one point in the second hour, I realized I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on — everyone was running around the refinery planting and/or looking for bombs was my best guess — and I didn’t feel any pressing need to try to figure it out.”

addCredit(“Catch a Fire: Garth Stead”)