With its frantic pacing, lively camerawork and (sadly overused) digital glitch effects, the new documentary The Dissident could easily be mistaken for a Jason-Bourne-type thriller. The only difference is that in this story, a real person faces death at the hands of a corrupt state.
The murder of Saudi Arabian dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi during a routine visit to his country’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018 sent shock waves around the world. There was CCTV footage of the 59-year-old entering the building to obtain documents for his planned marriage, but that was the last time he was seen.
Reports by the local police, the CIA and the United Nations held that the government of Saudi Arabia and its leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had ordered the killing. Not surprisingly, the American president refused to believe the truth, telling journalists that Khashoggi’s death was “a shame, but it is what it is.”