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Citizenfour (2014)

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A documentarian and a reporter travel to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with Edward Snowden.

Director:

Laura Poitras
Won 1 Oscar. Another 43 wins & 35 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Snowden ... Himself
Glenn Greenwald ... Himself
William Binney ... Himself
Jacob Appelbaum ... Himself
Ewen MacAskill ... Himself
Jeremy Scahill ... Himself
M. Margaret McKeown M. Margaret McKeown ... Herself - Judge
Kevin Bankston Kevin Bankston ... Himself, attorney representing Carolyn Jewel
Harry Pregerson Harry Pregerson ... Himself - Judge
H. Thomas Byron H. Thomas Byron ... Himself - Government Representative
Michael Daly Hawkins Michael Daly Hawkins ... Himself - Judge
Jonathan Man Jonathan Man ... Himself - Human Rights Lawyer
Robert Tibbo Robert Tibbo ... Himself - Human Rights Lawyer (voice)
José Casado José Casado ... Himself
Roberto Kaz Roberto Kaz ... Himself (as Robert Kaz)
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Storyline

In January 2013, Laura Poitras started receiving anonymous encrypted e-mails from "CITIZENFOUR," who claimed to have evidence of illegal covert surveillance programs run by the NSA in collaboration with other intelligence agencies worldwide. Five months later, she and reporters Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her. The resulting film is history unfolding before our eyes. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Witness the event that changed history: The Edward Snowden revelations.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA | Germany | UK

Language:

English | Portuguese | German

Release Date:

28 November 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cidadãoquatro See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$193,957, 31 October 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,800,870

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,780,692
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

One of the last title cards reads: "Edward Snowden's longtime partner, Lindsay Mills moves to Moscow to be with him", Snowden has stated in many interviews that Lindsay is his girlfriend not life partner. See more »

Quotes

William Binney: I don't know why they came with their guns drawn.
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Soundtracks

20 Ghosts III
Performed by Nine Inch Nails
Written by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Courtesy of The Null Corporation
Engineered by Chris Holmes
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User Reviews

 
Great subject, average execution
25 February 2015 | by sideriteSee all my reviews

I really appreciate what Snowden did and this film only raises my level of gratitude because it shows the man as well as the information he disclosed. Given this and the risk a filmmaker takes when recording a sensitive subject like this, I do think that the makers of Citizenfour should be praised.

However, once you start watching it you realize that it is made from the same mold that other revelatory, controversial or conspiracist documentaries are made from. The Oscar is not for the quality of the film as it is for the subject. And, assuming that you are informed about the case - I still get the shivers when I see that most people I meet don't even know who Snowden is, you might find it difficult to understand why this movie is better than others, cinematically speaking.

Also, I feel that the film was way too focused on the journalistic process and too little on the actual meaning of the information or the aftermath of the disclosures. It is, actually, a human angle story more than a documentary about the biggest intelligence reveal of the last century. While not a bad thing, it is ironically what Snowden repeatedly said he does not want: to be the center of the story.

One gets to feel the alienation and pervasive angst that Snowden felt, even if this is sometimes done through cheap soundtrack tricks. One sees a smiling 29 year old become burdened more and more as time goes by. Less smiling, more dark patches under the eyes, more bewildered looks. And this while staying in hotels and having communication with people that relay his information and while being protected by a nation state. It is unimaginable what a normal person, without this safety net, would feel.

Bottom line: certainly worth watching, not so sure about the Oscar thing, but as long as that raises awareness of the subject matter, it is also worthy.


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