The Dissident

Written by Taylor Baker


Bryan Fogel’s follow up to Icarus is a sprawling reduction of its subject with enough drone footage and shiny Twitter animations to make sure you don’t forget it was made at some point in the last three years. Investigative Journalism at it’s best boils down essential pieces of data as well as general facts and research then presents them all coherently in a digestible way. Unfortunately this documentary about an investigative journalist is a far cry from that standard. Like a microwave meal it is more manufactured than created, and once you’re done with it you feel worse than when you started. Not because it was impactful, but because it was vapid.

The Dissident presents us with a lot of emotions. Then it recreates unimportant events, throws in images of the ever polarizing Trump whenever it can, queues up some CG tweet recreations, and doesn’t focus itself squarely on anything but some circumstances Fogel is aware of. It goes for cheap emotionality instead of unwavering truth. 

I’m increasingly exhausted at these glossy documentaries with talking heads that have no purpose and are clearly just padding their resumes and attempting to create a positive image. The definitive Khashoggi documentary has not yet been made. I could have just read this in an article, what a waste of all of our time.

The Dissident Trailer

The Dissident is currently available to rent or purchase digitally.

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