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ASSASSINS gets 6/10 Putting out a hit


Directed by Ryan White
Featuring Siti Aisyah, Doan Thj Huong

6/10

The assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, made a blip in international news when it occurred back in February 2017. But this fairly unusual assassination plot, one with a rather modern twist, is explored further in this documentary, where it shows the most surprising excuse for a political assassination that you could come up with…it was just a prank, bro.

As we see the reporters and lawyers assemble to uncover what happened with Kim Jong-nam’s murder, arrests are made on the two women who attacked him at Kuala Lumpur International Airport with the lethal VX liquid. These two women claim they were being lead on by what they thought was a pranking channel, which sounds like a terrible lie, but one that appears to be true and congruent with how casual these women acted after their unsuspecting murder.

After this unusual twist is revealed, we hear some of the courtroom proceedings, where the judge has to gauge whether to believe in these women, and their lawyer also has to convince the judge. But Assassins has some pacing issues, where it appears to zip along through important decisions made during this case, giving the impression that they must’ve actually gone this quick.

There are some moments that delve into exactly why these women were duped into this act, such as the socioeconomic reasons, as well as a little bit about how they felt after being released and how they went back to their regular lives afterwards. But it isn’t a great deal being told here, and there’s so much focus on these two women, yet hardly much spoken about the other men who orchestrated this murder, and particularly what happened to them during this prosecution.

There are likely shorter and more concise documentaries on this incident on YouTube, even if this one here has more of the airport footage and more informed talking heads. But for such a strange story behind a political assassination in a volatile circumstance, Assassins should feel more stirring and unravel more and more threads as it goes along, rather than hit a suspiciously dead end.

DAVID MORGAN-BROWN

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