The Bang Bang Club

            Returning with photographs is often like returning for war for photographers covering the bloody apartheid in South Africa. Surrounded by death and often threatened themselves for what they try and capture on film, four photographers became known as the Bang Bang Club for their fearlessness in the face of these dangerous situations. Four friends as well as competitors, these men develop varying ways of handling the stress and anxiety of the job, and few films show the pitfalls of this dangerous job as accurately as The Bang Bang Club.

            The excitement of the danger paired with a sense of morality is the draw for many, but these four friends are changed by this experience. Newcomer Greg Marinovich makes an impression on the other photographers with his willingness to capture both sides of the bloody battle, as well as the photo editor of a newspaper (Malin Akerman). As they see more action, each of the photographers handles the pressure differently. Kevin Carter (Taylor Kitsch) turns to drugs, João Silva (Neels Van Jaarsveld) to alcohol, whereas Ken Oosterbroek (Frank Rautenbach) looks to normalcy with his wife.

Each must find a way to move past what they have seen on the job, as well as the accusations that they simply take pictures while others are dying. There is a power to this material, knowing that it is real and remembering the images which become controversial within the film. The stark realism of the film is matched with the knowledge that the story is based on the memoir by the real Marinovich and Silva, giving weight to the drama which might not otherwise be there.

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