It’s become common, if not cliché, for a critic reviewing a documentary about a turbulent real-world event to write something like, “It exerts the power of a true-life thriller!” Well, make no mistake: “The Dissident” does.
Directed by Bryan Fogel, who in 2017 made the Oscar-winning “Icarus” about the Russian doping of Olympic athletes, the film is a full-blown investigation into the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Arabian editor and Washington Post columnist whose murder, on Oct. 2, 2018, was in all likelihood conceived and ordered by the highest levels of the Saudi monarchy.
When it comes to edge-of-your-seat intrigue, “The Dissident” has just about everything. It has mystery and conspiracy coalescing around men of unfathomable power. It has inside-the-palace-walls homicidal backstabbing.
And it has a freedom-fighting martyr-hero, Khashoggi himself — a worldly and ebullient but increasingly lonely and isolated 60-year-old man who occupies a precarious middle ground between the Saudi regime, which for years he claimed loyalty to, and the freedom of the West, which he breathed in like oxygen.
“The Dissident” recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Read the story at Variety.
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