A powerful documentary exposing the murder of a renowned journalist in an autocracy that endures.
“When I speak of the fear, intimidation, arrests, and public shaming of intellectuals and religious leaders who dare to speak their minds, and then I tell you that I'm from Saudi Arabia, are you surprised?” Jamal Khashoggi
October 2, 2018 was a day to define the reach of Saudi tyranny as Jamal Khashoggi, the Saud Arabian editor and Washington Post columnist was brutally murdered. Bryan Fogel’s documentary, The Dissident, seems to present the maximum amount of information extant, which points to the responsibility at the top of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), who has experienced no sanctions so far.
The Doc makes sure to include Khashoggi’s fiancé, Hatice Cenzig, whose devotion to her valorous lover is quietly illustrated along with Fogel’s favorable depiction of him as loveable, fair minded, and courageous. Not good enough to save him from the wrath of a royal family that brooks no dissidence.
The evidence is overwhelming—reports from witnesses where Khashoggi was strangled by MBS personal security guard for over 7 minutes and dismembered with a saw visibly brought into the government building. It’s highly probable his body was burned along with 70 pounds of meat to cover the smell from the interior vat.
The real shame of this gruesome tale is that the noted journalist was fighting for freedom in a nation that has long needed it, as evidenced by the Arab Spring uprising in 2011, squelched but not forgotten by scribes like Khashoggi. That he wrote for a leading US paper only added more disdain from the West and anger from journalists around the world who have generally not been dismembered but have been tortured and vilified, even by the US’s Donald Trump.
Fogel’s documentary is as nail biting as a thriller, and with its lack of closure for MBS (some Arabs were imprisoned for the murder), a profound anger from those around the world who still feel suppression from autocrats amd tyrants. As a matter of fact, MBS and Putin should compare notes.
Director: Bryan Fogel (Icarus)
Screenplay: Fogel, Mark Monroe (Icarus)
Cast: Hatice Cengiz, et al.
Run Time: 1h 59m
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JohnDeSando62@gmail.com