Okay so, Assassins tells the story of two twenty something girls who are tricked into thinking they have been hired to make a series of YouTube prank videos that involve going up behind unsuspecting strangers and rubbing baby oil in their eyes. In reality though they are being set up to take the fall for a political assassination which is executed when the women play the trick one last time not realising that this time the substance they are using is not moisturiser but the deadly chemical nerve agent VX.
They are arrested and imprisoned while the men who orchestrated the whole thing are whisked away to a non-extradition country, probably protected by the leader of that nation who it turns out was behind the whole thing, the victim being his brother and only real challenger to his presidential position.
If this all sounds pretty implausible consider this for a moment. It’s all true. The women were Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong, the victim was Kim Jong-nam, eldest son of Kim Jong-il, and the big bad guy is Kim Jong-un, current Supreme Commander of North Korea.
I say it’s true but of course it is hard to know for sure. Some of the facts are irrefutable but much of the detail is still unproven. Nonetheless this documentary puts together a very compelling argument that it all happened as described. To be honest, you couldn’t really make it up, right down to the then American President not only failing to condemn his fellow statesman for killing his own brother like its 1200BC Greece or 14th Century Denmark, but actually apologising to him for the CIA’s recruitment of the poor guy as if Kim Jong-nam’s alleged involvement with the US authorities justified his murder.
As documentaries go this one is fairly straight, it has no Michael Moore style grandstanding or snazzy animation but plenty of talking heads. This is a story that effectively tells itself though and the film maker Ryan White has the skill to make it look like it is effectively doing just that.
Gender is a factor in these events although this is not something the film explores. I am sure it is no coincidence that those that organised and got away with this incredible plot were all men and I have not doubt that they chose two young women to do the deed as this would make them appear less of a threat to the victim should he see them approaching. I suspect their sex made a difference to their eventual fate as well.
Assassins is an enthralling study of this bizarre case and an interesting insight into world politics. If you want something that seems both ridiculous and deadly serious then I recommend it.
Assassins has been available to rent or buy on iTunes and Amazon for a couple of months and is now on Sky and Now TV.