The Bang Bang Club [Blu-Ray] Steven Silver

The Bang Bang Club [Blu-Ray] Steven Silver
A long-running debate about wartime documentation and photography is whether or not there is any responsibility to get involved in a humanitarian capacity. If you're photographing a starving child or a woman being beaten, would it not make sense to engage if you could make a difference or is their validity to the notion that the process of documentation is to observe without interfering? For the most part, The Bang Bang Club — a true story of sorts, based on Greg Marinovich (Ryan Phillippe) and Joao Silva's (Neels van Jaarsveld) memoir about their photographic experience in South Africa during apartheid — tackles this very debate. As Greg and his fellow paparazzi take pictures of people being burned and stabbed in the streets, they gain international notoriety, only to be confronted by members of the press and policing officials wanting more detail about their actual involvement. There are intermittent moments of moral crises juxtaposed with indifference and partying, showing both sides of the spectrum, to an extent, but for the most part, the film is highly expository and exploitive in its terms, finding emotional gravity in horrifying, lingering images. Beyond the obvious horror of bloodshed and brutality, and the glib thematic duality, there isn't much going on beyond cliché, with Greg screwing a comely but ideologically differing photo editor (Malin Akerman), while Kevin (Taylor Kitsch), another member of this elite picture taking gang, struggles with alcohol and drug addiction. It's possible that director Steven Silver was aware that the biographical subjects of the film were empty vessels, which is why there is greater focused placed on the political, but it doesn't make for particularly engaging viewing on the whole. He discusses many of his directorial decisions on the feature commentary track, as well as the "Making of" supplement, where the actual Joao Silva and Greg Marinovich pop up to talk about what it was really like for them. Also included are some Kgosi Mangake interviews, deleted scenes and the usual trailers. (eOne)