Academy Award Winner documentarist Bryan Fogel (Icarus) returns with his latest documentary The Dissident. The documentary exposes the corruption and conspiracy that led to the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The film includes Khashoggi’s fiancé (Hatice Cengiz), and a prominent number of specialists (including former CIA director John O. Brennan). Its principal focus is to provide a full account of the disturbing events preceding and on October 2, 2018.
The documentary features several video recordings from news media from the US and international outlets (most prominent in Turkey and Saudi Arabia). The media recordings and interviews work best in this documentary. The film also features many animations when presenting technical concepts when they come into the picture. More often than not, these animations pull you away from the story and become distracting. Another issue with the film is that it loses its focus by frequently switching gears to include activist Omar Abdulaziz in ways that don’t always add to the story.
The Dissident begins without much-needed deliberation and takes some time to come to its own. The documentary is guilty of becoming repetitive when setting up its story, which proves to be unnecessary. Despite its lengthy runtime, this documentary closes with a stellar final half-hour, which constitutes essential filmmaking. Its ending is a devastating one, but it is also the most fundamental part of this film.
Director: Bryan Fogel
Writer: Bryan Fogel, Mark Monroe