Shooting Robert King review

Posted on 3 September 2010
By Luke McGovern
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Laced through with humour, revulsion, and the ever-present whiff of despair, Shooting Robert King gets you onto an emotional merry-go-round and keeps you revolving.

The film captures his exploits from the innocent photo journalist entering Sarajevo, to hardened war veteran leaving Iraq.

Straight out of Arts College, Robert King confesses that he is ‘determined to make it as a photo journalist or die trying’, and as we follow the 23-year-old on his 15 year journey from the Bosnian war in Sarajevo, to Chechnya, culminating in Iraq you then realise how deadly serious King was.

Documenting a documentarians life is not necessarily a novel idea. War photographers and their exploits have been acknowledged over the years with many a melodrama, but it’s the sheer realism of the story that set’s the film off.

This isn’t a war time tail about a band of brothers or a yarn set around one man’s to mission to bring down a rebel alliance, it’s the real thing.

It’s fascinating to see how the guy not only navigates to see up-close what it takes to capture a moment in the heat of combat and what kind of thought processes have to happen in order to get that special “shot”, but also how he survives.

The film does sometimes become blurred as to whether it is about King’s story or simply a documentary of the atrocities of war, however, King himself as a protagonist is a convincing watch and his quirky character leads to some comical moments which are needed to contrast the films bleak subject matter.

By the end of the story King appears to be this hardened war veteran, part John Rambo part Michael Cera, as he romances about his war-time hedonism.

But director Richard Parry’s unerring focus and documentary discipline make him as fascinating as he is infuriating resulting in a compelling watch which could only be bettered if the film title read – ‘Shooting Robert Pattinson.’