Like a scientist patiently observing his research subject, Brit documaker Richard Parry’s 15 years’ worth of hanging around war photographer Robert King results in the quirky — if sometimes unsatisfying — “Blood Trail.” As a portrait of journalism’s most dangerous trade, the pic isn’t in the league of “War Photographer” about James Nachtwey, but it does capture odd characteristics that make King an ideal lenser in violent hotspots, including his ability to learn his craft under intense pressure. Although theatrical paths look limited, cable and vid options worldwide should be rich, followed by plentiful fest skirmishes.
King is first seen getting his feet wet in the vicious Bosnian civil war in 1992, and the doc justifies its existence in a remarkable sequence as Parry’s camera tracks King fearfully undergoing his first firefight — making viewers forget that Parry is enduring it as well. Elder colleague Vaughan Smith offers bits of advice to the young Tennessean, who reveals a troubled personal and family history that informed his risky choice of profession. Present-day sections with King hunting in the woods are far less rewarding.