This film was a nice surprise; I'd not heard of it before I saw it. The set up is a group of intrepid South African photographers who want to go out and document the troubles surrounding the end of apartheid - a story of incomparable significance at that time. These fours guys each have their own unique personality and reactions to the events but share a desire to get the facts on film (and not just report on the contrived political goings on). They risk life and limb in riots and battles that were fought, very graphically here, within the townships - traditionally no go areas for white people. The fact that the director (Steven Silver) managed to fit into the running time enough detail on each photographer for sufficient back story, plus was able to project the historical concept but tread lightly enough to not offend those that were caught up in it, was impressive. You could imagine, with a sufficient budget, the book morphing into a mini-series. The performances of the actors (in particular the one playing the black South African who'd recently lost his family) were believable, engaging and consistent. There is included a romantic story - one which is based on real facts and thus one which must be included in any film which has hopes of scoring successfully at the box office. The story was true and therefor wasn't unnecessary, and added to the sympathy for some South Africans who were obviously against the mistreatment of their countrymen. The overall feel of the film was one which was not overly 'Hollywood', yet still will be accessible to those who prefer western-style production. As a film about photography the images - still and moving - were beautiful and emotionally very captivating. Anyone who has an interest in photography and/or social history should not miss this.
The Bang Bang Club
The Bang Bang Club
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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April 4, 2019