The Dissident

The Dissident

When Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappears in Istanbul, his fiancée and dissidents around the world piece together the clues to a murder and expose a global cover up.

The murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi in what should have been the safety of his own consulate shocked the world when it happened in October 2018, causing international outrage as the way Saudi Arabia treated dissent came to the fore in the most brutal of ways. Then, like many things in global politics these days, time passed and people moved on to the next thing of interest. ‘The Dissident’ is a documentary about Khashoggi’s murder, but it’s also about the circumstances and environment that led it to happen, and the failures of the international authorities and major nations to do anything meaningful to prevent something similar happening again in future.

Bryan Fogel’s film is a detailed exploration of how the elites in Saudi Arabia control dissent, essentially nullifying freedom of speech, and how they use their vast wealth and power to ensure western nations do little more than pay lip service to any discretions. The film features interviews with Khashoggi’s partner and fellow journalists, who can speak to the fear he felt at reporting on what he saw as the problems in his country of birth. The parts focusing on Khashoggi’s grisly murder are detailed and forensic, establishing how it happened and pointing clear blame at the perpetrators, who are yet to face any justice (and likely never will), but the greater intrigue comes in showing how the Saudi authorities attempt to control the international response.

The Dissident’ is a powerful documentary about the dangers of journalism and freedom of speech in a society unwilling to tolerate it, and Jamal Khashoggi paid the ultimate consequences for his desire to help create a better Saudi Arabia through his journalism.

Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Bryan Fogel

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