• Nate Adams

Review: Wild documentary 'Assassins' tells unbelievable true story


Courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment

Ryan White’s “Assassins” tells an unbelievable story regarding the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, half brother to North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un. Though the filmmaking logistics and presentation can be oversimplified in certain corridors, that probably has something to do with how outlandish the narrative is. White paints the story of Doan Thi Huong and Siti Aisyah in an interesting light, showing how the internet and stardom can influence impressionable young women to commit acts of violence without even knowing it.


“Assassins” presents the ultimate conundrum, forcing audiences to decipher the clues and determine if the girls are innocent. Their attorney’s argue they were duped into committing what they thought was a prank. They’ve been charged with assassinating Kim Jong-nam and at first glance it’s easy to see why. Aside from their associations with North Korea officials, there’s clear footage of them literally walking up to Kim Jong-nam in Kuala Lumpur International Airport and coating him with a toxic nerve gas, killing him within the hour. After a quick pit stop in the ladies room, the two vanished.


But “Assassins” makes an argument that the girls were involved in a deep state plot orchestrated by Kim Jong-un to kill his half brother. Prior to the assisnation, the girls had been seen in a variety of prank videos online, smearing their hands across people’s faces with baby oil and face cream. They assumed the same when carrying out their mission on Kim Jong-nam, another unsuspecting participant handpicked by the content creators, but when they’re arrested for murder it suddenly starts to click.


“Assassins” is a wildly entertaining documentary that doesn’t lose sight of its subject matter. Though it’s hard not to view Sita Aisyah and Doan Thi Hyong as victims whose lives will never be the same. Hell, the folks who tricked them into carrying out the plot never saw a courtroom. Clips of the United States summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump will make your stomach churn in the closing minutes, capping off White’s grandstand indictment of how those in power will do whatever they can to silence the truth.


Grade: B+


ASSASSINS is now playing in select theaters and will be available on PVOD January 15th.