Critics Consensus

Part real-life thriller, part sobering examination of 21st century civil liberties, Citizenfour transcends ideology to offer riveting, must-see cinema.



Total Count: 145


Audience Score

User Ratings: 20,215
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Movie Info

In January 2013, Poitras (recipient of the 2012 MacArthur Genius Fellowship and co-recipient of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service) was several years into making a film about surveillance in the post-9/11 era when she started receiving encrypted e-mails from someone identifying himself as "citizen four," who was ready to blow the whistle on the massive covert surveillance programs run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies. In June 2013, she and Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Snowden. She brought her camera with her. The film that resulted from this series of tense encounters is absolutely sui generis in the history of cinema: a 100% real-life thriller unfolding minute by minute before our eyes. Executive Produced by Steven Soderbergh. (C) Radius


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Critic Reviews for Citizenfour

All Critics (145) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (139) | Rotten (6)

  • There's footage from within the Ecuadorian embassy in London as Julian Assange helps with the flight that takes Snowden to Moscow, where he claims political asylum. These scenes give the film an unprecedented level of immediacy and dramatic tension.

    Feb 18, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Poitras' movie works even better as a horror picture -- perfect for Halloween week.

    Jan 5, 2015 | Full Review…
  • This thoughtful film is designed with taste.

    Jan 5, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The message of the movie is as clear as Siberian ice: Whether you're a Tea Partier, an Occupier or just an ordinary Joe, you might be the next citizen who's stranded in limbo.

    Jan 5, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Filmmaker Laura Poitras paints a frankly terrifying picture of the loss of liberty involved in the widespread government gathering of the communication done by ordinary Joes on a daily basis.

    Jan 5, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

    Liz Braun

    Toronto Sun
    Top Critic
  • Citizenfour argues that when we lose our personal privacy, we also lose our liberty, because fear overcomes our freedom of speech.

    Nov 20, 2014 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for Citizenfour

  • Jan 31, 2017
    Snowden is a true patron to the people who don't stand by and let a government rule with an iron fist. This is frightening and should awaken the sleeping dragon in you. Share this movie and let bigots see what the US government allows to exploit privacy and invade foreign countries. This is a step away from conformity and very close to 1984, our future generations deserve better than this mess of a power hungry government
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Jan 22, 2017
    One of the more important documentaries you can ever see. In the hands of a better filmmaker, it would have been one of the great documentaries you'd ever seen. Nonetheless, you must see this film.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Dec 30, 2016
    The problem with this documentary is that it's one-sided. A good documentarian would analyse both sides of Snowden's actions as well as all possible consequences.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 13, 2015
    It's hard to deny the film's power and it's made all the more interesting by Snowden's very distinct lack of charisma.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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