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Tuesday 22 October 2019
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CITIZENFOUR: REVIEW

CITIZENFOUR: REVIEW

CITIZENFOUR: REVIEW – Imagine the most exciting and depressing, dark and paranoid thriller from the 1970s, The Parallax View or Three Days of the Condor, but imagine it’s true and that’s what we have with Laura Poitras’ Oscar winning Citizenfour.

The documentary Poitras has created gives the audience a ground level entry into the story of Edward Snowden. At the beginning of the film Snowden is an anonymous source who has picked the film maker as a possible outlet for leaked documents. Laura has been picked because she was put on a watch list following her first documentaries. The two are understandably cagey but they meet in a hotel room in Hong Kong along with then Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald. And now you can begin to feel the real electricity of events as together they conspire to release a series of historic revelations.

Snowden himself comes across extremely well. He is articulate and passionate. The man is fully cognizant of the risks to himself and the cost that he is likely to pay, including the estrangement of his family and potentially a life of exile and/or imprisonment. He is also a nerd who faffs with his appearance, but his commitment to protecting the citizenry from the power of the government and the security agencies is real and honorable.

In a world of twitter, instagram and Facebook, it has become fashionable to glibly declare privacy dead, but the consequences of this are revealed in a chilling way by the documentary. We always suspected. As Slavoj Zizek might say, we always knew, but now we know we know. Citizenfour shows just how much Snowden did and how he did it consciously, rationally and knowing full well the likely price he would pay. This is a portrait in genuine courage and genuine patriotism. It is an enduring stain an the international reputation of the US that this man is still wanted for crimes when he should be feted as a hero.

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