9/10 One of, if not the best documentary of 2020, “Assassins” is the fascinating and enthralling look at two women charged with assassinating the half-brother of Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-nam. Are the two women actual assassins, working for the North Koreans and playing dumb or victims who were set up with what they thought was a prank? The answer is rather clearly revealed by the time the film ends but what a fascinating true story that is shocking, infuriating, sad and unbelievable. I remember hearing bits and pieces about the death of Kim Jong-nam, but since he isn’t Kim Jong-un, there was much less media coverage for his death. To dig deep into every angle of the story and actually see real reporting and investigative journalism is extremely refreshing since most real reporters today are non—existent and instead, replaced by partisan hacks forwarding their own political agendas and pushing a narrative given to them from above. From a film making stand point, this film is pretty flawless. A wide and diverse group of people intimate to the story are interviewed, the B roll footage is some of the best I have ever seen in a documentary, the pacing works well as you will be glued to the screen for the entire running time and the score is one of the strongest I have ever heard for a documentary as well. Due to what happens in the film (which I won’t spoil), you get emotionally connected to these two women and very invested in what happens to them. The film highlights the evils of North Korea, which should be shocking to absolutely no one, and how the trial of these women became entrenched in politics. The subject matter is simply fascinating and all of the moving parts are well laid out. With many names being thrown around, it might be easy to confuse individuals but director Ryan White does a fantastic job of presenting all of the information, details, people and events in an informative way that entertains you without becoming overwhelming or confusing. My only complaint came at the very end when the film hurriedly throws President Trump into the film and highlights his relationship with Kim Jong-un. It felt tacked on, out of place and lacked all context, which your average, uninformed viewer won’t think twice about but as someone who follows politics as closely as film, I know things are a lot more complicated than the final two minutes of this film let on. With the exception of pushing their own political narrative at the very end, this is one of the best films of 2020, an extremely interesting true story that people should be aware of and can teach you some lessons along the way about questioning everything instead of blindly just going along with things. A must see for documentary fans and film buffs in general.
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