Citizenfour (USA/Germany, 2014)

citizenfourDirected by: Laura Poitras. The risk when assessing a documentary is to confuse one’s feelings about the subject matter with the way the filmmaker has portrayed that subject matter as a result of their artistic/journalistic decisions. I do this frequently (see my review of the Nina Simone documentary, which probably was a really good one, but I loved it because Nina is awesome). This one will be easier to keep at arm’s length because although I’m generally sympathetic to Edward Snowden’s plight, I’m not a fan of his the way I’m a fan of Nina Simone. And even though what he did was really important for me and for everybody, I’m not as interested in this whole thing as I am in, say, the Holocaust (I’m going to finish watching Shoah any year now). Basically, I really enjoyed this movie because I’ve never really seen a style of documentary like this before, one that is so immersive, the filmmaker’s presence and the filmmaking process itself are participating in the events being depicted, not just recording them. I know that you could say that about everything, but this one is very demonstrative because it’s that one hotel room, just 3 or 4 people there, and Laura Poitras is one of them. When they talk about the plans that Snowden has, and the things he intends to do, and then does them, they’re talking about events that will make history. More than any documentary I’ve seen before, with this one you can actually watch human beings make history before your eyes. And that’s pretty cool! And I know that one day I’ll eventually see the Oliver Stone movie with Joseph Gordon Levitt, and his mimic of Snowden’s talking voice will drive me bonkers, but in the meantime, you should all check out this movie if you’re interested, and get it from the horse’s mouth.


One response to “Citizenfour (USA/Germany, 2014)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2017 | Offhand Reviews·

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