Citizenfour is the critically acclaimed 2014 Academy Award® winner for Best Documentary. Just as the controversial U.S. Patriot Act was to expire on May 31, 2015, the U.S. Senate voted to pass the U.S. House version of the USA Freedom Act, the successor to the Patriot Act, which saw three of its major sections end, one of which was the mass surveillance of all Americans. Shortly thereafter, President Obama signed the bill into law. Edward Snowden and the events documented in Citizenfour were a powerful catalyst in calling attention to the unlawful surveillance of Americans by their government. A real life international thriller unfolds by the minute. With unprecedented access, this gripping behind-the-scenes chronicle follows Director Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Creenwald's remarkable encounters with whistleblower Snowden in a Hong Kong hotel room as he hands over classified documents that provide evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA). The film not only shows the dangers of governmental surveillance, but also makes audiences feel them. After seeing the documentary, viewers will never think the same way about their phone, e-mail, credit cards, Web browser, or digital footprint again. This is a MUST VIEW documentary dedicated to those who make great sacrifices to expose injustices. (Gary Reber)
Special features include three deleted scenes (HD 13:55), The Program New York Times Op-Doc by Director Laura Poitras (HD 08:36), a New York Times Talk with Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden, and David Carr (HD 60:02), a Film Society of Lincoln Center Q&A with Poitras (HD 28:22), and upfront previews.
The 1.78:1 1080p AVC picture is a documentary with numerous elements such as interviews, presentations, exchanges, city scapes, government facilities, television and media news feeds, archival footage, etc. The filming is generally excellent with a natural capture and good resolution. Overall, the imagery is absolutely realistic and compelling in its stark capture of this extraordinary story of personal intrusion and privacy. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is dialogue focused and intelligible throughout. Cutaways to settings such as city scapes provide a sense of ambiance, along with an eerie electronic “music” accompaniment. Overall, this is an impressively serviceable soundtrack. (Gary Reber)