Flash Movie Review: Citizenfour

There was nothing unusual as we climbed the stairs to the 2nd floor apartment. The darkly polished wooden door creaked open into a shadowless stillness. As I entered the apartment a flash of light burst open into the room and a thunderous chorus of people shouted out “surprise!” My friends had gathered to surprise me for my birthday. Not only was I shocked but I was stunned they were able to keep everything so secret from me. Usually I am quick to notice any subtle changes in a person’s expressions or feelings while talking to them. One of the most fun aspects of the party was listening to my friends reveal all of the clandestine maneuvers they did to avoid tipping me off. In fact, they presented me with a small photo album that had pictures of me that they were taking in secret at various places. I thought I had arranged to be at each location; but instead they had cleverly made it appear I was choosing the locale and had someone secretly stationed there to take my picture. It was an awesome evening as I listened to everyone’s experiences; I loved hearing all the backstories to the different events.    GROUNDWORK had to be carefully laid out if the startling discovery would properly make the news. From director Laura Poitras (The Oath, Flag Wars), this film festival nominated documentary revealed the planning and logistics behind Edward Snowden’s release of secret documents that showed the extent of the US government’s involvement regarding internet spying. Before I review this movie I want to state that my review is based on this film’s entertainment value. I do not wish to get into a political debate of right or wrong, simply share what I felt as I watched this documentary. This film played out like a thriller due to the director keeping a faster clip with her scenes. I was fascinated watching the behind the scenes events coming to light from the news reports that had come out to the media. There were only a few spots that slowed the story down for me. Writer and columnist Glenn Greenwald from The Guardian newspaper was the most compelling player in this film. I would have appreciated more backstory on him alone. The scenes of Edward Snowden looked genuine to me, not just being set up to make a good story for the viewers. I have to assume people watching this documentary would be familiar with the story or at least the fallout from it; however, if someone is not aware of this noteworthy event I am not sure they would find this film as fascinating to watch as I did.


3 1/4 stars


About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on November 5, 2014, in Documentary and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. You have awesome friends! 🙂

  2. I think I would really enjoy this movie, having a journalism background! And yes, I do know who Snowden is and followed that story as it was breaking. Amazing how quick they can write a script and film it these days and have it come out pretty good!

  3. Quite a bold piece, especially considering the fallout is on-going.

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