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The Bang Bang Club misses the shot 

Apartheid-era docudrama "curiously devoid of heft"

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Steven Silver is a South African whose filmmaking background in documentaries, so it stands to reason that he’s the guy to translate this true story, about a group of thrill-seeking white photographers documenting the violent last days of apartheid, to the screen. Yet The Bang Bang Club is curiously devoid of heft, diluted by Silver’s peripatetic storytelling and concessions to the mainstream. Chief among these concessions is the casting of Americans Ryan Phillippe and Taylor Kitsch as two of the four lensmen haunted by their own Pulitzer-winning work. Kitsch especially labours under his terrible South African accent, but even first-rate thespians couldn’t overcome the film’s lack of focus. Silver’s own lens is split between the individual photographers and the uneasy rebirth of a nation, and he ends up relegating the latter---and far more interesting---story to the background.

The Bang Bang Club
Rated NR · 93 min. · 2011
Director: Steven Silver
Writer: Tribecca Film
Cast: Malin Åkerman, Taylor Kitsch, Ryan Phillippe, Ashley Mulheron, Frank Rautenbach, Russel Savadier and Neels Van Jaarsveld

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