I vaguely heard about Steven Silver’s new film, The Bang Bang Club, when it played at TIFF, though it didn’t seem to make much of a splash. Now, it’s finally getting a theatrical run, and Tribeca films has released the first official trailer.
If you’d asked me who was in this movie before watching the trailer, I could not have told you. But it turns out that the film stars Ryan Phillippe and Tim Riggins Taylor Kitsch as two photographers working among poverty and strife in South Africa during the mid-1990’s. Malin Akerman also stars as an editor that the team works with.
Phillippe, Kitsch, and Akerman are not three people that I generally associate with top-notch acting. And not knowing much about the film’s premise before watching the trailer, I had expected something rather different. But this actually looks pretty good. Silver’s previous work has been mainly in documentaries, and it shows here in what seems to be an effectively filmed and edited movie (or trailer, at least). Yes, it does have the Hollywood sheen, but The Bang Bang Club actually looks to be more heavily focussed on the moral implications of what these photographers are doing, rather than a bunch of cool explosions.
And maybe I’m being too harsh on these actors, because they look decent here (aside from some dubious accents). The jury is still out as to whether Akerman can act, but Phillippe can be good, and to me, Kitsch is one of the most fascinating young “heartthrob” actors around. I haven’t seen him in anything besides the first season of Friday Night Lights, and I couldn’t decide if his acting was awful or legitimately good on that show. He obviously has tons of charisma, and he brought a strange understated humour. But even if Kitsch is not a good actor (which is entirely possible), I have to give him credit for creating such a bizarrely compelling character in Tim Riggins.
But I could go on all day about my love for Tim Riggins. Let’s not get into that. Instead, I’ll simply say that I am now a lot more interested in The Bang Bang Club.