Running Time: 106 mins.                      Rating: 3 1/2 Stars/5 Stars

MPAA Rating: NR

Director: Steven Silver

Genre: Drama

Country: USA

Language: English

Distributor: Tribeca Film

Cast: Malin Akerman, Ryan Phillippe, Taylor Kitsch, Frank Rautenbach, Patrick Lyster, Neels Van Jaarsveld, Russel Savadier

What is being hailed as Steven Silver’s independent masterpiece needs a bit of work.  THE BANG BANG CLUB, based upon the book of the same title, follows the lives of four photojournalists working and living in South Africa in the years leading up to the first free election of 1994.  The premise itself was intriguing and evoked thoughts of bloody racial violence coupled with white supremacy.

Alas, Silver’s adaptation failed to explore the political and social arena that was the backdrop of the film; instead brief mentions of politics were included at moments where they were easily overlooked.  The film relied heavily on scenes of raw violence juxtaposing the fact that the white photojournalists were in the middle of it all, barely touched.  Additionally, it seemed like the personal lives of the journalists were more centralized, blindly filling the movie with countless unnecessary sex scenes and constant unrealistic drug usage by the Taylor Kitsch.

A redeeming portion of the film was towards the end, when violence and the personal lives of the photojournalists became intertwined.  The photographers were no longer infallible to the situation in South Africa and it became clear that they were actually putting their lives on the line for their jobs.  The acting from Phillippe was mediocre considering his other roles but a new talent in Taylor Kitsch has emerged that will definitely serve him well in the future.

Overall, if you want to see a political drama without having to deal with all of the ‘politics’ see THE BANG BANG CLUB.  The film is worth the $12 ticket and it will give you something to talk about and think for a few days.  However, if you want the real story…read the book.

If you like this recommendations: Blood Diamond, Hotel Rwanda, Invictus