January 27, 2015

Citizenfour (2014)

Citizenfour (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Laura Poitras
Country: USA / Germany

Movie Review: “Citizenfour” chronicles the unsettling adventures of Edward Snowden concerning the scandal of global surveillance that involved the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013. Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras was on top of the happenings, covering in real time the actions and reactions of the interveners that besides Snowden, include Glenn Greenwald, journalist of the Guardian; Jacob Appelbaum, computer researcher and hacker; William Binney, former intelligence officer for NSA; Ladar Levinson, creator of the extinct encryption software Lavabit; Ewen MacAskill, intelligence reporter for the Guardian; Julian Assange, polemic co-founder of WikiLeaks; among many others. Ethics and freedom are two of the aspects debated here, after Snowden, former NSA employee in Hawaii, has revealed everything about the collection data program set up by this US governmental agency after the 9/11. Confined to a hotel room in Hong Kong, Snowden explains his motivations for denouncing the questionable methods of the agency, accepting calmly his fate, yet not without some alarming circumstances. He was the one who contacted Poitras via encrypted emails, fact that turned this documentary possible. The film gives us a thorough insight about the communication era we live in, where surveillance can be synonym of espionage, jeopardizing the freedom of opinion of the most common citizens. “Citizenfour” conveys a natural interest and curiosity, achieving the desired effect of shocking us with its revelations. However, besides its historic relevance, I didn’t feel any particularly exciting vibration in its images. Snowden says: ‘it’s scary but liberating’. I say: ‘it’s informative but not breathtaking’.

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