On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: THE BANG BANG CLUB (Tribeca Film).
THE BANG BANG CLUB (Tribeca Film) Shoots Its Way To Your Home - On Demand
By Chris Claro
In the waning days of apartheid, the early 1990s, as civil war raged throughout South Africa, a band of daring young photojournalists earned the monicker “The Bang Bang Club” for their dynamic shots of the conflict. Steven Silver’s film, starring Ryan Phillippe, Malin Akerman, and Taylor Kitsch, focuses on the adrenalin-fueled atmosphere that kept the shooters fighting for their pictures as well as their lives.
Phillippe stars as Greg Marinovich, the newest and most vulnerable member of the club. Witnessing atrocities through his lens, Marinovich attempts to maintain some emotional distance from the war, but finds himself affected by the violence. Kitsch is the seen-it-all Carter, who shows Marinovich the intricacies of shooting in the region. Together, they find themselves caught up in the dangerous political struggle of South Africa’s racial tensions.
Taylor Kitsch, Ryan Philippe: THE BANG BANG CLUB (Tribeca Film)
With a tone similar to that of other wartime-journalist films like UNDER FIRE and THE KILLING FIELDS, the purity of the photographers’ mission as champions of truth is the defining characteristic of THE BANG BANG CLUB. Always attempting to remain impartial and objective, the shooters, most notably Kitsch’s Carter, find themselves trying to keep their sanity and wits as the turmoil around them rages.
What works about THE BANG BANG CLUB is its attention to the detail of both the conflict in South Africa and the people documenting it. Silver’s own camera is restless and handheld, as if always searching for a focal point. The battle scenes pulse with genuine danger and authenticity and compensate for the somewhat overwrought acting and questionable accents.
THE BANG BANG CLUB (Tribeca Film)
Phillippe pushes to imbue Marinovich with determination, but the effort shows through. Kitsch is more successful in rounding out Carter, a hotshot who numbs his emotions with drugs. The real revelation among the performers is Malin Akerman. Known for supporting parts in WATCHMEN and THE HEARTBREAK KID, Akerman shows a mature subtlety in her portrayal of a photo editor and Phillippe’s love interest.
Ryan Philippe, Malin Ackerman: THE BANG BANG CLUB (Tribeca Film)
With its harrowing action, and questions about the thorny issues of battlefield journalism, THE BANG BANG CLUB is a deeply satisfying examination of the old maxim that truth is the first casualty of war. The film’s thoughtful, dynamic examination of an explosive not-so-long-ago conflict is a worthy entry into the pantheon of films about the bullet-dodging pursuers of truth.
Chris Claro is a contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. He is a former Director of Promotion for Sundance Channel and now works as a writer, producer, and media educator. He is a regular contributor to dvdverdict.com and contributor to the Eyes and Ears section of huffingtonpost.com
Look for THE BANG BANG CLUB (Trribeca Film On Demand) under your cable system's On Demand section.
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