Citizenfour (2014)

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

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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 (142) | Top Critics (38)

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…
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

Citizenfour plays like a thriller as it chronicles a complex and vitally important chapter in our history.

Nov 13, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
USA Today
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Citizenfour

This alarming and terrifying exposé is both a tense real-life espionage thriller that came at the right moment when the events were still fresh in people's minds and a fascinating character study about a brave man who put his life at risk to reveal what he knew to the world.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

John Oliver recently interviewed Edward Snowden, in Russia, for a segment on his HBO show "Last Week Tonight." In short the interview simplifyed information surrounding the intelligence agencies' reach into our private lives, the data that Snowden leaked when he became a whistleblower, and how it affects our daily lives. The interview was spawned from an intelligent, beyond tense, and well directed documentary that recently won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, named "Citizenfour." Read more at http://www.bluefairyblog.com/reviews/2015/5/23/citizenfour

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

An arresting, extremely fascinating look documenting the divulging of sensitive government information by whistleblower Edward Snowden, and how he and the United States reacted once it became public. You do not have to agree with the politics of the situation to still be utterly hooked by what is put on the screen. It is no secret that the government spies on its citizens and has way to much access to what we do in our own time. Whether you agree with Snowden's decision or not, this is still a very well-done movie with the intent to inform the public that invasion of privacy is a very real thing that is only getting worse over time.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

½

"Citizen four," the documentary that took the world by storm, is one of the best I have seen in a very long time. Following a hacker who has been contacted by news stations and looked after by government officials, the film is about the discovery of the hacks around the world what took place a few years ago. In this beautifully constructed dramatic Documentary, the audience follows this young man around as he uncovers secrets of the world and of society in general. Fascinating, heartbreaking, and just interesting all the way through, "Citizenfour" is a film that I would highly recommend even if you are not a big fan of this genre. It is thought-provoking and shows you just how scary the world of technology can really be sometimes. A great film in every sense of the word, even if it does start to feel it's length about halfway through when it becomes a little repetitive. Fantastic and worth the watch!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

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