Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
Though superlatives can mischaracterize any movie’s qualities, it is not an overstatement, I think, to call “Citizenfour,” Laura Poitras’ film about Edward Snowden, the movie of the century (to date).
That statement is meant, first off, to suggest certain things about its relation to our collective past, present and future. No film so boldly X-rays certain crucial changes wrought upon the world, and especially America and its government, by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. No film so demands to be seen by every sentient person who values his or her own freedom and privacy. No film so clearly implies actions that need to be taken to prevent the 21st century from turning into an Orwellian nightmare in which technologically-enabled tyranny is absolute and true political liberty, for all intents and purposes, nonexistent.
This is not to say that “Citizenfour” is a perfect film, if anyone believes that such a thing exists. On the contrary, perhaps more than any documentary in history, it invites endless questions about what Poitras chose to put in and leave out, to emphasize and to elide. But such debates are only a secondary–if very fascinating–aspect of a broader national and international discussion that the film deserves to start. They do nothing to diminish its colossal importance.
Indeed, no film has ever been historic in quite the way this one is, since it tells a story in which the filmmaker and her work play a crucial part. It’s as if Daniel Ellsberg had a friend with a movie camera who filmed his disclosure of the Pentagon Papers every step of the way. Or if the Watergate burglars had taken along a filmmaker who shot their crimes and the cover-up that followed. Except that the issues “Citizenfour” deals with are, arguably, a thousand times more potent than Vietnam or Watergate.