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The Bang Bang Club
IMDB Rating: 7.0/10 from 7,599 votes
Release: 22 July 2011 (South Africa) /

The Bang Bang Club

Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Director: Steven Silver,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: A drama based on the true-life experiences of four combat photographers capturing the final days of apartheid in South Africa.

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Critic Reviews


THE BANG BANG CLUB, A MOVIE TIE-IN is as fine an introduction to the quality of the film just released, a film based on this book. The political history surrounding South Africa into which the four photographer journalists involve themselves is confusing at best and should be required reading before the audience steps into the grim realities of the cinematic format. Another aspect that makes both the book and the film of utmost importance is this past week's report of the deaths of two brilliant photographer journalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros in a very similar situation in Libya.

South African writer/director Steven Silver adapted this book by Greg Marinovich and João Silva for the screen and using some of the images from the original book and enhanced by reenactment of the horrors by cinematographer Miroslaw Baszak has successfully preserved all of the brutality and gore of the situation in South Africa in 1994 - before the country was joined into a nation by Nelson Mandela. Greg Marinovich (Ryan Phillippe) is a free lance photographer in and around Soweto and follows his instincts for a good story by wandering into dangerous territory. He meets the three photographers who produce footage for Star picture editor Robin Comley (Malin Akerman) whose crew consists of pothead Kevin Carter (Taylor Kitsch, in a fine, sensitive performance), Ken Oosterbroek (Frank Rautenbach, a very promising young actor), and João Silva (Neels Van Jaarsveld). After proving his worth with a Pulitzer prize photograph of a burning man the four young men bond closely as the Bang Bang Gang and proceed to capture all of the fighting and incomparably cruel hostilities as the three fighting forces in the struggle for power in South Africa create the chaos of 1994. In a particularly touching scene Kevin photographs a starving child being stalked by a hungry vulture and his photograph wins a second Pulitzer Prize for the group. But war is war and takes is mental and physical tolls on the Bang Bang Gang and only two survive to write the book whose journal like content provides the story for the film.

This is a difficult book to read and the resulting cinematic version is equally as difficult to watch. The cast of characters is excellent down to the smallest cameo appearances by the South African people describing the atrocities that till their existence. An excellent book has been transformed in to an excellent film, albeit a film that is harrowing to watch unfold.

Grady Harp

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