the-dissident-movie-review-2020.jpg
the dissident

★★★★★

director: bryan fogel (icarus)

documentary

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

When Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappears in Istanbul, his fiancée and dissidents around the world piece together the clues to a murder and expose a global cover up.

There are some films that transcend the art form and not only entertain you but they sit with you for a long time afterwards and re-shape the way that you see the world and your part in it. The Dissident is one such cinematic rarity. The Dissident plays as a blockbusting thriller that you have to constantly remind yourself isn’t fiction. It will equally enthral and horrify and will leave you with a multitude of questions long after the credits roll. An absolute hands down masterpiece from a director at the very heights of his craft. 

Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was critical of his beloved Saudi Arabia and of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s policies. On October 2, 2018, Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul and never came out. His fiancée and dissidents around the world are left to piece together clues to his brutal murder—and in their dogged quest for truth, they expose a global cover-up perpetrated by the very country he loves. 

Most of us will remember the shocking story of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, murdered in his embassy at the hands of his own countrymen. Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Bryan Fogel brings his immense talent to this behemoth of a tale and begins, ever so slowly, to unpick the multi-layered threads of this story and place them before us. 

We learn of Khashoggi’s early working life in the inner sanctum of the Saudi Arabian kingdom and follow his escape to America where he became a vocal critic of his country’s rulers. Fogel interviews key investigators and prosecutors in Turkey as well as Khashoggi’s fiance as he lays out each grim, shocking and heartbreaking detail.

But the real shocking horror is how interconnected the event of Khashoggi’s murder is to the elites that rule and influence this world, how far they went to stop him and others who were vocal opponents of the kingdom and how great their influence really is.

The Dissident is also a love letter to the weight, power and necessity of journalism in an age where people don’t only have their own opinion, but bizarrely can manufacture their own ‘facts’. The Dissident is a reminder that our democracy and all the freedoms that come with it are fragile and that we should champion the cause of the fourth estate even when they expose uncomfortable truths. 

The Dissident plays as a blockbusting thriller that you have to constantly remind yourself isn’t fiction. It will equally enthrall and horrify and will leave you with a multitude of questions long after the credits roll. An absolute hands down masterpiece from a director at the very heights of his craft.

★★★★★