Cert: 15 Runtime: 114 mins Director: Laura Poitras Cast: Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill
We are building the biggest weapon for oppression in the history of mankind.
Edward Snowden is a name most of the world know about. He has been called a traitor, terrorist, patriot, hero ,etc. For me personally he has given the world information that we needed to hear. The internet age is a fast developing period in humanity and as great as we can communicate to anyone around the world. We are being monitored by anything, hell while I am writing this right now most probably someone is taking an interest to what I am saying. Snowden for me is brave for what he did, it’s illegal I will accept that but we deserve the truth. What is Citizenfour about then? In January 2013, Laura Poitras started receiving anonymous encrypted e-mails from “CITIZENFOUR,” who claimed to have evidence of illegal covert surveillance programs run by the NSA in collaboration with other intelligence agencies worldwide. Five months later, she and reporters Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her. The resulting film is history unfolding before our eyes.Citizenfour feels more like a spy thriller than an actual documentary because it was being documented in real time. There are several things that stand out here and despite that slow opening 15 minutes, once Edward Snowden shows up for the first time the documentary begins to take form and the thrills kick in as we realize that we are becoming a witness to the events that occurred in 2013 surrounding the US government involvement in surveillance.
Perhaps the greatest thing about Citizenfour is that it ends up being a rather interesting and fascinating character study of a man who we barely know. I found this documentary fascinating despite not really having cared much for the story when it first broke out. I guess I simply didn’t care about being under surveillance considering there isn’t anything I have to hide, but I understand now the importance of Snowden’s actions and its implications. The risk that he along with Poitras and Greenwald took is heightened in this documentary with the eerie underlying score. Citizenfour is a groundbreaking and thrilling documentary that is worth checking out no matter how you feel about the matter.What stands out in Citizenfour is the sense of immediacy surrounding the events that have taken place over the past year. We also get a sense of who and why Snowden did what he did. Snowden, Greenwald, and Poitras aren’t just concerned about the loss of privacy, but the loss of freedom it implicates because the public will be fearful of sharing their personal opinions. The documentary works like an authentic spy thriller because you get a sense of the persecution and secrecy surrounding their actions while filming and developing the story. Citizenfour was a worthy winner at the Academy Awards for Best Documentary.