The Bang Bang Club (BLU-RAY)

The Bang Bang Club

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Running Time: 
97 Minutes

Many of the photographs taken in the film have their original prints shown throughout including during the end credits where photographs of the real photographers themselves appear oposite the actors that played them.

The Bang Bang Club is a name given to an infamous group of fearless photographers who put their lives on the line in a war torn Africa leading up to the end of apartheid. Based on the memoirs of Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva we follow the group not only through the blood bath of a long raging civil war but of their own lives which are steeped in regret, depression, and burn out. Stars Ryan Phillippe (The Way of the Gun), Taylor Kitsch (Wolverine), Malin Akerman (Watchmen), Frank Rautenbach (Faith Like Potatoes), and Neels Van Jaarsveld (Goodbye Bafana).

The film is instantly likeable as you meet up with these adrenaline junkie photographers that race into the middle of a killing to snap pictures and then celebrate getting that perfect shot with a round of beers at a local bar. It’s like your instantly connected with these guys and without a doubt its due to a great cast. I think that a lot of people will disregard this film because it only flirts with the era and events that take place in order to capture the first person perspective of what it was like for the photographers. Even then your given the obvious basics of their lives. You see how they’ve become so detached by seeing people as mere moments in time, furthering themselves from the truth of a war in which they find themselves face to face with murder everyday. How living in those tense moments of pure adrenaline rush soon makes everything else in their lives pale in comparison and how they choose not to get involved, even when the circumstances are dire. These are the demons they live with but simply showing us the momentary suffering between frames only gives us a look but not the taste or feel of who these people are. Would I suggest it? Yes. Just don’t blame the film for its lack of political messages during a time in which there are plenty. This is a movie about four men and their cameras.

I’m happy to report that The Bang Bang Club looks pretty damn good. Clarity is fantastic with only a bit of grain in a few interior shots and one night shot and color is great. There is a lot of vegetation that shines through in the film, lots of greenland as well as desert, and also Malin Ackerman’s bright blue eyes. Definition is also fantastic giving us an in depth look at facial features, injuries, and the minute detail of tribe shields and vehicle logos. Audio is fine giving you the boom of gunfire and the all together crowd noise of two mobs facing off in the streets but immersion could have been better. The film does well to put the audience in the thick of things but failure to truly immerse us with a fully functioning soundtrack that incorporates more surround sound capability is a bit of a let down. Of course at the films tempo you never really notice until your really checking.

~Making of Featurette: 47+ Minutes of footage though I didn’t get past twenty. Its an okay featurette showing us how the real photographers who wrote the book the film was adapted from helped out during the making of but a bit slow.
~Audio Commentary with Director Steven Silver
~Deleted Scenes: Some extensions or variant scenes and some not put into the film. Worth having a look.
~Kgosi Mongake Interviews Cast and Crew: Kind of a spoof interview with one of the kids who is in the film. Funny.

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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