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Home Movies Reviews ‘Bangarang’ Netflix Movie Review - Clumsy and Ineffective

‘Bangarang’ Netflix Movie Review - Clumsy and Ineffective

Inspired by true events, the movie follows a man, who is protesting the Kenyan general election results as he finds himself wrongfully implicated in an infant’s death

Vikas Yadav - Fri, 21 Apr 2023 19:48:47 +0100 1981 Views
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There is a scene in Odongo Robbie's Bangarang where a man gets frustrated by the news and puts on a sports channel. His wife picks up the remote and goes back to that news channel. The message is clear: You cannot ignore what's happening in your surroundings. In Bangarang, young, educated students walk on the streets and protest against the government. Their protests are suppressed by a violent police force, who, instead of rubber baton rounds, fire real bullets at the rioters. It's complete chaos outside, which is why people think twice before leaving their houses. The establishing shots in Bangarang are so bright they threaten to burn the screen. This artistic choice comes with obvious intentions: This place is hell.

Bangarang sounds like a furious, politically charged film. However, what you see on the screen is devoid of fury and fire. Blame the incompetent staging, as every scene looks like a school play. Even the actors overact like small children. The camera either records the events or decorates them through tricks like slow motion. Consider the scene where Otile (David Weda 'Juogi') catches a tear gas canister and throws it back at the police. The slow motion is employed here to imbue Otile's act with a sense of heroism. If this movie were a person, it would have asked us to stand up and clap for this character. Bangarang always tells us how to react to a scene, but we never follow its orders. Instead of forcing us to feel a certain way, it would have been better if the film had worked hard on itself and earned its emotions. Technically, it's inept in every way possible.

There is a scene in the film where a man goes from the left to the right side of the screen. Seconds later, he runs in the opposite direction as he is chased by the police. Then more seconds later, the police run toward the right side of the screen because they are chased by rioters. While all this occurs, the camera remains static in its position. I was immensely confused by this scene because its execution reminded me of comedy films. Why would you have something like this in a serious movie? Take another scene where a man is shot dead in front of an ice cream vendor. It's also - intentionally or unintentionally - presented with a comic touch. After the man dies, a policeman steals something from him and gives a devilish smile because how else can we figure out that he is a bad person?

The movie deals with the issue of police brutality, but the sensitivity gets lost within amateur filmmaking. The barbaric acts of the officers are presented in a lurid form so that the movie can push our buttons. An OCS dismisses every accusation by saying, "Propaganda," and he is shown as a clown to accentuate influential people are useless. But it's not just the politicians and the police forces who are lazy. Bangarang, too, does not do its job competently. You understand what it's trying to say. But the "intentions" take a backseat, and you merely notice clumsy showmanship.

Bangarang is filled with confounding choices. For instance, it verbally extends that very short, violent scene we see during the opening. Why not leave it to our imagination? The scene concerning a fight at a bar ends - and is picked up again - quite abruptly. A doctor says, "Impossibility is a myth," as if he knows he is performing. The most tremendous shock, however, comes from the fact that the news channel footage the characters watch on their TVs looks more cinematic than this whole film.

One good setup comes from information regarding someone's difficulty conceiving a child, and the payoff comes in a sad form when the baby dies. If Bangarang had been a well-made film, our eyes would have become misty. But like everything else, we watch this development with a cold detachment. The baby is named Joy so that Bangarang can make a comment on its setting. You see, due to the turmoil, there is no place for "joy" in the film. There is one more reason behind this name. The baby came like a joy in the character's life. That's something the movie explicitly mentions to us. It doesn't think we are smart enough to make that connection. Then again, it's possible that the brains of some viewers could freeze while watching Bangarang, and those people could benefit from this explanation.

Final Score- [3/10]
Reviewed by - Vikas Yadav
Follow @vikasonorous on Twitter
Publisher at Midgard Times



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