While every documentary is primarily concerned with highlighting the truth, there are some stories that fall into the category of 'so strange that it has to be true.'
Well, Ciaran Cassidy’s feature documentary debut Jihad Jane is definitely one of them.
In terms of the plot, the documentary explores how in March 2010, two American women, including one who named herself ‘Jihad Jane’, were arrested in a number of high-profile arrests in Waterford.
At the time, these women were trumpeted by the US attorney’s office as ‘the new face of terrorism’. Facing huge jail sentences, the two women pleaded guilty but now for the first time ever, with unprecedented access, the documentary tells the story of the most absurd terror cell ever to come together.
Aside from documenting their story, the film is also about the online world of the Internet and the damaged people who made plans to murder a Swedish cartoonist.
However, reality comes crashing in when they actually meet for the first time.
The film captures post 9-11 America and what emerges is a touching and haunting portrait of not only a damaged terror cell but the country and world that they emerged from.
Since being released, Cassidy’s documentary has been a critical darling and at present, it boasts a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film received glowing four-star reviews from The Guardian who described it as a "fascinating documentary, made with sensitivity."
Elsewhere, Empire said that it's "terrifying, dispiriting and, at times, slyly satirical," while Total Film remarked that it's "a perceptive treatise on disillusionment, bewilderment and absurdity of homegrown radicalisation."
Speaking about the Irish television premiere, director Cassidy said: “We are excited for Jihad Jane to screen on RTÉ and to see the reaction from the Irish audiences that didn’t catch it when it was in the cinemas. Waterford played an integral part of what was a major global story at the time.”
In terms of Cassidy's most recent work, his documentary ‘Where is George Gibney?’ which he co-produced with Mark Horgan of Second Captains can be heard on BBC Sounds.
Jihad Jane airs tonight on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.
Take a look at what's in store.
Clip via WildCard Distribution