Photo by Onur Binay on Unsplash

I had never watched Citizenfour before, but I had heard the stories of Snowden’s betrayal of his position in US national security. Maybe it was because of the bias that I grew up with, but I had prepared myself to dislike the documentary upon watching it for its glorification of a traitor. I do, however, believe it is important for one to expose themselves to views they do not agree with in order to keep an open mind, so I went ahead and gave it the film a view and I will admit that I am relatively impressed with Citizenfour.

While I still do not particularly agree with Snowden’s actions — nor the results of them — I understand his motives and believe he risked a lot with the intention of helping others. As a result, he has opened the US to be less secure in the event of a terrorist attack, so I am unable to determine whether I believe that his means to expose our lack of privacy were selfish or altruistic. Due to my mixed opinion, this is where I will leave that discussion.

In terms of the film itself, though, I do find it interesting that Laura Poitras was able to document the entire process of Snowden’s controversy as it occurred, which lead to an incredibly raw perspective on the event. I admittedly had a bit of a difficult time keeping my attention on the film because of this, as about an hour of the lengthy documentary consisted only of an interview with Snowden with little visual or auditory variation. While I didn't love Citizenfour, I do believe that it is an incredibly important film and that viewers should attempt to go into it with an open mind.



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Mady May

Mady May


Communication and Digital Studies/Studio Art student, Lead Writing Consultant, Rocky Horror enthusiast, fashion lover, daughter, sister, and girlfriend.