South West Nine - Reviews

Jason Solomon, Observer Review, October 14th 2001

'a colourful and energetic work... it has verve, ambition and humour that put most similar British efforts to shame'

Arwa Haider, Time Out

'..lively, gritty, beautiful and deeply surreal...should prove a buzz on release.'

Alexander Walker, Evening Standard

'hugely entertaining... defines the temper of our age as vividly as Derek Jarman's Jubilee did all of 23 years ago... It hurtles along the rails. It careers in and out of time and place, on and off its narrative track... London's May Day riots, Genoa's stand off, the internet's call to arms, anarchy's nihilists. Here, idealism is a dead end, capitalism a spent force, religion an empty house, the United Kingdom a disunited anachronism... a landmark film about the dangerous diversities alive and kicking in contemporary Britain.'

Quentin Falk, Sunday Mirror Reviews

'..Visually stunning ...craftily blending in documentary footage. Parry creates a genuine sense of a melting pot culture in his funny, funky contemporary urban tale.'

Jenny McCartney, The Sunday Telegraph Review

'Events zoom along with colour and verve... Parry has a good eye for social types...Visually, this film celebrates the energetic anarchy of the drugs culture... The performances are vivid, and some sets are inspired...One puffing dreadlocked redhead has set himself up as the resident Thomas de Quincy, perpetually scribbling his fleeting profundities on the walls. "With every hit, a new thought", we are told. But when we see his graffitied thoughts - the most sagacious of which is "life without buildings" - it all seems rather pitiful. Parry's feature film debut, however, is anything but.'

What's On In London

'..SW9 is the coolest and most colourful British film for a few months, capturing the distinctive flavour of Brixton.'

Simon Lewis, Uncut

'This film is the first since Trainspotting to capture exactly what makes our shabby city so conducive to both hatred and hedonism... An impressive rounded debut... Nearly as scary and sexy as Brixton itself.'

Evening Standard

'SW9 is one of the few British films this year, or any, to attempt to put together a neo-realistic impression of an actual London community.'

Ryan Gilbey, Sight & Sound, November 2001

'In theory, South West Nine promises parochialism.... But writer director Richard Parry, a former documentary film-maker, has his sights set far beyond the Thames...- included are images from Sierra Leone, the 1981 Brixton riots, as well as Parry's own footage of London's 1999 May Day riots...South West Nine is elevated above the majority of youth orientated British movies'

Danny Moran, City Life, October 10th 2001

An ambitious attempt to marshall the cutting-edge cultural phenomena of the day into some kind of perspective...Spliced with Parry's own disturbing war footage and jacked with a soundtrack that takes Roger Sanchez, Freestylers and Mr Scruff, this is a bold and panoramic journey through the streets of one of our own (cultural) enclaves. If it bears the rawer edges of other club land clunkers, stay with it.

Shooting Robert King - Reviews

Nick Broomfield, Film-maker

Completely blown away by it. It's beautifully put together, and by far the best war doc I have seen ... It's beautifully constructed with the reveal of his wife and son at the end, and his development as a character works so well. I dread to think of the work and time that went into it but it is a brilliant film...

Jon Lee Anderson, New Yorker Magazine writer, Author

Stylishly filmed, laced through with humor, some horror, and the ever-present whiff of despair, 'Shooting Robert King' makes for compulsive viewing. The life of King is, in the end, an Everyman's life, lived out against some of the largest and most incomprehensible sadnesses of our time, and that, somehow, is also deeply entertaining.

Peter Bergen, Chief CNN Terrorist Analyst, Author

Darkly comic, as if "Scoop" was reimagined for the 21st century as a gonzo acid trip through some of the most hellish wars in memory, 'Shooting Robert King' is also a moving story of love and redemption... I've never seen a better film about journalism and war.

Ron Haviv, War Photographer

'Shooting Robert King' takes us into places most people don't know exist and puts a face on those who risk it all to tell the world. The story of Robert King is the story of all journalists struggling throughout their lives to survive and make a difference.

Richard Watson, BBC Newsnight Correspondant

Following the American photographer Robert King over a full fifteen years produces an extraordinary portrait of an appealingly flawed man, and it is this intensely personal journey which yields the film's true riches: its powerful, rolling themes of self-hate, the search for meaning, and love... Shooting Robert King is Mesmerizing in its intensity.

The Hollywood Reporter

Richard Parry's documentary provides an intriguing glimpse into the driving forces that have King and his ilk coming back for more despite the inherent dangers... Effectively bridging the intervening years with present-day footage of King, Parry's film exposes some of the darker impulses that keep King and company clicking.

Toronto International Film Festival

Though war photographers have often been captured onscreen, no film has followed a career trajectory as closely as Shooting Robert King. Director Richard Parry has been intermittently checking in with photographer Robert King, from his start in Bosnia to his breakthrough work in Chechnya to his struggles embedding in Iraq. His portrayal of King's personal and professional growth is reminiscent of Michael Apted's Up series - only under fire.

Sheffield Documentary festival

Fifteen years in the making with eight colleagues lost in the process, Richard Parrys incredible journey with King starts with him as a twenty-four year old graduate and chronicles harrowing daily battles with the outside world and within himself... Intertwined with personal existential questions, 'Shooting Robert King' forms an explosive insight into war journalism and one of the most gripping narratives of the programme.

Anthony Loyd, War Reporter & Writer

The innocent, the naive, the kind, the clumsy - none of these people live long in war. Which makes Robert King's survival all the more surprising, and this film all the more remarkable. Listen carefully to the story of this dirty faced angel from Tennessee. Then have him shot at dawn. The world is too ugly to allow such honesty to live.

Christina Lamb, War Reporter & Writer

Following the progress of photographer Robert King from hapless wannabe to hardened hack, this gripping chronicle of the wars of the last two decades manages to be funny, shocking and an uncomfortable insight into the lives of war correspondents. I loved it!

Allan Little, BBC Correspondent, Writer

I was blown away ... Beautiful. Important, Profound... Robert is a kind of Everyman for our tribe. The nervous, hopeful greenhorn beginnings, the heart breaking moments of set back early on, the determined optimism that makes him, in the end, a success, the price he pays, the hedonism, the addiction, the lessons en route And the enduring optimism... Wonderful, powerful, filmmaking.

Tim Dowling, The Guardian

Richard Parry's extraordinary film about the perils, both physical and mental, of being a war photographer.... King's pictures (are) brilliant, perfect encapsulations of trauma, turmoil, chaos and waste ... that's what makes the photographs, and this film, so compelling.

Rich Cline, BBC Radio 5 live, UK

Journalists will love this striking exploration of warzones over the past 15 years, The footage in this film is expertly shot by professional cameramen in some of the most harrowing places on earth ... These kinds of subtle observations make the amazing footage and stills even more meaningful. This is a thoughtful and provocative film unlike anything we've seen. It's also vitally important.

Andrew Pulver, Guardian, UK

Intriguing documentary about American photojournalist Robert King,... Parry's footage, accumulated over a decade and a half, ends up introducing us to a wised-up and, later, avowedly philosophical King: "I was fucked up before I even went; that's why I was so good at it."

John Fortgang, Channel 4, UK

This fascinating account of the unheralded heroes of international conflict - the journos, photographers and cameramen - succeeds for exactly the same reasons as the best reportage: by focusing on just one story, it somehow tells many more... Parry's film surveys the wreckage and finds in King a fearless, fascinating, flawed figure, and tells his story with the sort of gallows wit that only comes through living cheek by jowl with death.

Tom Huddleston, Time Out London

King is a slippery subject - part self-absorbed fratboy, part tortured artist - but Parry's unerring focus and documentary discipline make him as fascinating as he is infuriating.

Film Four Film Reviews

Parry's film surveys the wreckage and finds in King a fearless, fascinating, flawed figure, and tells his story with the sort of gallows wit that only comes through living cheek by jowl with death... A fascinating, entertaining and skillfully assembled documentary about the messed up business of war reporting, and the messed up men who do it.