Lora Simakova, Editor-in-Chief

You may never use technology after watching the 2014 real-life thriller, Citizenfour, which stands as one of the all time best documentaries to date. 

Directed by video journalist, Laura Poitras, the film follows Glenn Greenwald’s daily interviews with NSA’s Edward Snowden.  Poitras’ passion to film the documentary led her to communicate with Snowden via encrypted messages where we see him start to explain the government’s close monitorization of online communication. He converses under the alias, Citizenfour, to keep encryption justifiable.

Over half the documentary takes place in a small hotel room in Hong Kong where Snowden uncovers classified information. Through the film, the group dodges reporters and law enforcement. 

With the help of Glenn Greenwald and Scottish journalist, Ewen MacAskill, Snowden publishes his findings on The Guardian for the world to see. Snowden explains how every action taken by a person is observed; from internet searches to live footage, everything is recorded.

Snowden now resides in the outskirts of Russia with his wife where he keeps communication to a minimum. 

The documentary follows Snowden’s journey as a whistleblower. Although watching it the first time with little context is rather confusing, through a second or third watch, the film becomes easier to disentangle. 

The documentary encapsulates the reality of video journalism and investigative reporting as Poitras films everything from running out of the hotel room, to keeping cell phones in the microwave, and even to Snowden entering his computer password under a special hood so as to keep his identity secure.

The film also features a limited excess in technological advancements; the soundtrack, lighting, and overall cinematography are kept to a minimum. Adding to the story, the rawness of the footage creates for a more realistic picture.Overall, Citizenfour depicts the reality of government influence and integration into the daily lives of its citizens. It’s definitely one for the books… both in the film and social industry.