I have to confess that I don’t normally watch, much less review, documentaries. However, ASSASSINS stands out for me because of its topic. Assassins is the story about the assassination of North Korea’s President Kim Jong-Un’s half brother, Kim Jong-Nam that happened in Malaysia in 2017. In a way, this was a major scandal in Malaysia’s recent history, which makes this a natural fascination for me being associated with my homeland.
I have to say that Ryan White directed this documentary superbly. Its pacing is perfect, as he meticulously brings the story of how two young women were initially recruited as video prank stars and ultimately tricked into committing a politically motivated murder. One can say this is the consequence of their naivety but their background is a familiar one, and this could easily happen to many young girls today. Like an excellent thriller, Ryan takes us through how the two women were duped into committing a revolting crime in broad daylight. He takes us through their backgrounds in detail making us understand where these young girls were coming from. Indeed, by the end of the documentary, we have become so invested that the scenes of what they had to go through during the trails and in prison , felt emotionally charged. Here were two girls, one from Indonesia and the other from Vietnam, who started off as strangers but through the circumstances that befell upon them, they ended up being the closest of friends.
In addition to the two women, we also follow the paths taken by people associated with their case, like the lawyers, and journalists. These characters are all given enough time to provide relevance and giving the story the supporting views on how the events are being hawked to the public. Through their findings, we are able to understand how the whole murder was meticulously planned and committed.
Here is one documentary that shares a true story that is so amazing and riveting, it comes across like a political thriller that is both informative, as well as captivating. It has often been said that “truth is stranger than fiction” which can be aptly applied for Assassins. The documentary had also cleverly tied the main story of these women with the compelling background of North Korea’s President. It is a chilling revelation that rivals any Hollywood espionage thriller.