In 2017, television channels around the world broadcasted a very shocking news story: Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-il’s first-born son and half-brother of Kim Jong-un, had been killed at Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia. The airport surveillance cameras had captured images of two girls approaching him from behind, covering his eyes with their hands and then, leaving the scene. The last images of Kim Jong-nam captured by security cameras show him talking with airport guards, before dying shortly after due to the nerve agent smeared on his face. Overnight, the two girls, Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, became the murderers of North Korean leader’s half-brother.

 

Assassins brings us closer to the investigation of the defense lawyers, who hastily discovered a whole web of geopolitical strategy, twisted and surreal. The defense was engaged in a race against the clock to prove the innocence of Aisyah and Huong before their clients faced death penalty. As if that was not enough, the political interests of the countries involved complicated matters and, day after day, the media coverage grew, turning the accused into accidental television stars.

 

Following the style of crime stories, Ryan White’s documentary surprises its viewers with unexpected twists and turns, especially those who did not follow the case. The saying “Reality surpasses fiction” will never have been so true.

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Credits

Year: 2020
Runtime: 104′
Country: USA
Direction: Ryan White
Cinematography: John Benam
Genre: Documentary
Subtitles: Inés Martín Llorente, Albert Vilalta Copons
Contacte: Magnolia Pictures

Wins & nominations

2020: Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards – Nominated for best editing
2020: Stockholm Film Festival