Review: Citizenfour


Title: Citizenfour
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Laura Poitras
Starring: Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras
Runtime: 1 hr 54 mins

What It Is: A documentary that tells the tale of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and the efforts he went through to tell the world the true stories behind some of the National Security Administrations biggest and most covert programs. We see correspondence between Snowden and director Poitras (My Country, My Country) as well as those of The Guardian Editor Glenn Greenwald. Not only do we hear from Snowden himself why he did it (to an extent) and the backlash a journalist like Greenwald faced.

What We Think: Poitras paints the scene not with broad strokes of color but instead peppers this film in political greys as far as the eye can see. It has a heck of a lot to say about civil liberties (and a decisive lack thereof) and what role our very own phones may have in obstructing them. What truly let’s this piece hit the atmosphere of investigative documentarianism is the tactful and thoughtful nature of it’s intent. It isn’t really hear to paint Snowden as a hero, but instead focuses on it’s central issue and hammers home it’s point.

Our Grade: A+, It won the Oscar and deservedly so. Poitras creates a thriller within this real-life story, about real people. One that had real consequences for the man involved. I’ve never been so gripped by the act of whistleblowing as I have with this particular picture. Poitres always seems to paint such a vivid picture and with that we’re back to the artist analogy we used at the beginning. Who planned this damn article? Seeing how the mealstorm from the media descended upon everyone, especially those on the conservative stream reall opens the eyes, and splashes cold water all over them. In the end it is a riveting and enthralling piece, this is a documentary that keeps you as a toy within its grasps throughout, and does not let you breath.

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