The Bang Bang Club (2010) English- War Drama Rated “R” Runtime- 107 min. dir. Steven Silver
There are some broad subjects that are difficult to make interesting on their own merits. One of these subjects is photographic journalism. However, any topic can be made more interesting with the addition of something controversial. In The Bang Bang Club‘s case, that extra ingredient is war. And of course, no dramatic dish would be complete without some “gravy on top” so to speak. Bang Bang‘s gravy is that it is based on real events.
All food jokes aside, the plot deals with some pretty heavy stuff, specifically the “hidden war” in South Africa during the last years of apartheid. The “Bang Bang Club” was a group of four photographers who took it upon themselves to cover the violence that was occurring at the time.
Several very strong performances, especially in the four male leads. Ryan Phillippe is pretty believable as the young superstar who was catapulted to fame for his brave work.
Although it was all shot on-location, which is very good, the sets begin to blend together a little bit. The style of shooting is surprisingly aggressive, making it almost feel like we’re watching soldiers at work as opposed to photographers.
For being pretty realistic-feeling in other areas, the effects felt a little under-financed and unprofessional. Some of the gunfights weren’t too believable, especially in comparison to the film’s modern counterparts.
A good movie, but just falls a little short of being really good.
An average watch for an average night.