This film tells of the astonishing assassination of DPRK leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, King Jong-nam, a vocal and tenacious critic of the North Korean regime who was killed by two young women in 2017.
The story presented reads like something from a Netflix original crime drama that millennials would go mad for – two young women and aspiring influencers, Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Houng, were tricked by North Korean agents posing as prankster telly producers. After weeks of pranks on the public, they were then told the next one would involve rubbing body lotion on the face of King Jong-nam as he walked through Kuala Lumpur airport…
Spoiler alert: the body lotion is really a lethal VK nerve agent similar to the Novichok used in the Salisbury poisonings in 2018.
This sounds more than mad enough to fill almost two hours of documentary film, but just you wait. There’s more manipulation, sexism, violence and corruption than even John Le Carré could come up with. As far as true crime goes, this is possibly the maddest and seriously stupefying story of them all. A mind-blowing Must.
The Times’s Kevin Maher gives Assassins four stars, calling it a“gobsmacking…thriller for the Instagram generation.” And Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian agrees by saying “it is a gripping story, well told by documentary film-maker Ryan White, with the help of two journalists who covered it at the time.” Whilst The Telegraph’s Tim Robey thinks “Siti and Duan’s story is an extraordinary snapshot of 15-minute celebrity innocently craved, and then accidentally achieved for all the wrong reasons.”
Influencer lesson #1: don’t accidentally assassinate anyone. You’ll definitely lose your brand deals.
First shown January 2021. You can watch the trailer here.