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The Bang Bang Club

The Bang Bang Club (2011)



Average Rating: 5.5/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 13

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 3,461

My Rating

Movie Info

The Bang Bang Club is the true story of four young combat photographers bonded by friendship and their sense of purpose to tell the truth. They risk their lives and use their cameras to tell the world of the violence associated with the first free elections in post-Apartheid South Africa. Ryan Phillippe, Malin Akerman and Taylor Kitsch star in a film that explores the thrills, danger, and moral questions associated with exposing the truth. -- (C) tribeca



Aug 16, 2011


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All Critics (47) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (24) | DVD (1)

A queasy mix of high-toned intentions and commercial compromises.

May 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Silver cut his teeth in documentaries and it shows in the skilled on-the-ground style of the camerawork. But visuals are only half the story and the plot doesn't keep up.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"The Bang Bang Club" divulges little insight into what keeps this dangerous brotherhood banging away around the world.

April 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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This is one of those relatively rare movies that gets better and smarter as it goes along...

April 23, 2011 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Seldom does "The Bang Bang Club" show much interest in the big picture of South Africa.

April 22, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The story has heat, even if the movie is more entranced with its subjects than in what they're trying to achieve.

April 22, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

full review at Movies for the Masses

September 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

This film is painstakingly detailed in its recreation of iconic events and images. It's also beautifully played by a superb cast, although the story is undermined by unnecessary sideplots.

August 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Impressively directed, strikingly shot and superbly acted drama that tells an intriguing true story and asks some thought-provoking questions about the nature of journalism.

June 25, 2011 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Silver offers no easy way out of his moral maze, just an unflinching look at conflict and its impact both on the perpetrators and those who watch.

June 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Eye for Film | Comment (1)
Eye for Film

The production is too glossy for the deadly serious and viscerally real subject matter in this photojournalist thriller.

May 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

It's definitely something worth seeking out, and a must-see if you have any interest in the ethics of modern reporting.

May 17, 2011 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

It's heavy stuff, but the director supplement's his film with enough fluff to keep it both entertaining and informative.

May 11, 2011 Full Review Source:

Silver's execution lacks elegance or great dramatic structure, but it works well enough to tell an urgent story that defined an era, and continues to define our times.

May 11, 2011 Full Review Source: National Post
National Post

Silver's recreation of actual events has an almost tangible energy that recalls Paul Greengrass's work.

May 8, 2011 Full Review Source:

Thrilling stories; mediocre movie. It happens.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Some of the movie's moments have real power. But the bulk of it is complicated and unbalanced, spending too much time on certain issues and dodging others entirely.

May 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

The Bang Bang Club seems to imply that the real tragedy was how a group of talented, committed young men were broken by a dangerous professional environment -- a dubious conclusion for a dubious movie.

May 5, 2011 Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY

The film's politically minded and morally probing framework is marred by its portrayal of veritable frat boys goofing off.

April 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington City Paper
Washington City Paper

This is a movie about a group of people who essentially exploit the suffering of others and eventually that takes their toll on them.

April 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Ebert Presents At The Movies

By focusing on the power of photography, the film feels more like a series of snapshots than a coherent narrative of a pivotal moment in South Africa's history.

April 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian

Action captured in an all-encompassing yet perspective manner and top notch performances resulting in piece with the power to stick with you long after the credits roll.

April 22, 2011 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for The Bang Bang Club

I have read that the book was better than the film...that being said, I haven't read this book. So, I am not biased. This biodrama film was rivoting. You couldn't help but get involved with each character, and the risks that they took to document the tragic violence in South Africa. The cinematography was spot on, the acting was really good, and the script was well-written. I enjoyed this....
February 10, 2013

Super Reviewer

It was definitely an interesting watch, with some really good cinematography however it just felt a bit sterile. I wasn't keen on many of the characters but I guess that's what happens to people when they live in a war zone. Kitsch did a great job as Carter and by the end, it was so emotional and it really made me think about what goes on in this world. A good watch but nothing I'll see again.
May 23, 2012

Super Reviewer

Based on actual events, this is the story of four photographers who, during the last years of Apartheid, put themselves in harm's way to capture the events of the tumultuous struggles going on across South Africa.

Overall, this is a decent film, but it doesn't quite live up to its potential to be great. The film is rather unbalanced in that it focuses far more on two of the guys instead of giving all four of them equal amounts of development, and also that it seems to run of out steam part way through, which is a shame because it starts off pretty decently. It doesn't totally fall apart by the end, but it definitely feels like thigns are running on fumes. Also, even though I don't always mind adding in material for dramatic purposes, it wasn't necessary here as there's already pelnty of drama in the real story.

A better job of establishing the context and background for the events would have been nice as well, but I had some idea of that sort of stuff, though I had no knowledge of these four men prior to seeing this film. Still though, the film is shot decently, and there's some godo performances here, especially from Ryan Phillippe and Taylor Kitsch.

All in all, a well meaning film about an important subject that is passabel enough, yet not quite worthy of getting a full on recommendation.
January 2, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

The Bang Bang Club starts off with a bang. The story is very good, but somehow halfway through the middle, the film looses its spark that got this firecracker of a film started in the first place. The film is nonetheless good, with plenty of good performances from its cast. However by the time the credits role, you feel that considering such an engaging and thrilling story, you'd expect something astounding by the films conclusion. I thought the film exposed some important issues, but there was always something missing. This is still a well made film with a good, real story and plenty of good performances. The film does lack certain things to truly make it a memorable film. There are plenty memorable scenes, but as a whole the film has the potential of being something truly great, but it somehow manages to struggle with its own material. Considering its subject, The Bang Bang Club could have been an incredible film, but somewhere near the films conclusion, the story becomes overly dramatic and it kind of cheapens the look of the film a bit. Despite this, The Bang Bang Club is still an interesting film to watch and one that's very good, despite the fact that halfway through the middle it struggles in being a better film. Than it is. If the filmmakers would've kept the film as it was, and not include any unnecessary dramatic bits to make this film more appealing to a broader audience. The films biggest flaw is that by the films end, is that by the end, the film relies on overacted drama that almost mocks the true story. Still a good film to watch, but nothing that great.
August 19, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

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