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2014’s Academy Award winning documentary CITIZENFOUR is a real life international thriller that unfolds by the minute. With unprecedented access, this gripping behind-the-scenes chronicle follows award winning director Laura Poitras (My Country, My Country) and journalist Glenn Greenwald’s remarkable encounters with whistle-blower Edward Snowden in a hotel room in Hong Kong, as he hands over classified documents that provide evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA). The documentary not only shows the dangers of governmental surveillance, but makes audiences feel them. After seeing the film, viewers will never think the same way about their phone, e-mail, credit cards, web browser or digital footprint again.
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Our family all came to the conclusion that Snowden is a patriot / whistle blower. If you haven’t researched Snowden, you should. He was protecting our freedoms, and is now stuck in Russia because the US revoked his passport. His efforts caused Congress shut down a program doing bulk collection of information on US citizens (and others); a federal judge said the NSA phone surveillance program is unconstitutional, etc. Well, it's a long list...
Pretty world-shattering things...
Now for those of you who might hate it. We have gotten used to documentaries which are just as cleverly filmed as fictional movies. The likes of Ken Burns, Errol Morris and others have really invigorated this genre. However, this film is shot the old way of filming a documentary where there is mostly talking, writing via computer, and sitting in hotel rooms. Time proceeds as it does in the real world. I'd say it is close watching an actual trial proceed, which can be very slow, even if the case itself is fascinating. Had this been shot this way on any less fascinating a subject, it would probably be viewed by no one. So if you can't stand this old way of documentary film making, this is probably not the film for you.
Thank you Edward Snowden. Even if a large number of people can't see how out of control the NSA had gotten doesn't understand the high value the founding fathers put on individual privacy, especially from the government.