Parents' Guide to

The Bang Bang Club

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Wartime photography drama is intense but overcomplicated.

Movie R 2011 107 minutes
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Documentary filmmaker Steven Silver makes his feature debut with this complex but engrossing film, which is based on a true story. He re-creates the tumultuous events of 1990-1994 in South Africa and imagines how it must have been for the four real-life photographers to take their memorable and award-winning shots.

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. Silver tries to paint the men as heroes and friends, but moral issues cloud their heroism, and the lack of strong character development muddles the rest. Moreover, the political climate isn't adequately explored or explained. It's an ambitious film, but it has probably bitten off more than it can chew.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: April 22, 2011
  • On DVD or streaming: August 16, 2011
  • Cast: Malin Akerman, Ryan Phillippe, Taylor Kitsch
  • Director: Steven Silver
  • Inclusion Information: Black directors
  • Studio: Tribeca Productions
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 107 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong brutal violence, disturbing images, pervasive language, some drug use and sexual content
  • Last updated: January 29, 2023

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