Rated: R

          I’d like to tell you about a documentary that has both caused many waves in the media and won many awards, Citizenfour. I absolutely love documentaries! Many people find them boring and would rather watch paint dry than sit through even the shortest documentary, but not me. I love that it’s so easy to find documentaries on any subject you could possibly be interested in and that they can be thrilling, heartbreaking, funny, scary, and purely informative or a mix of them all. It’s not that I don’t like to read about the subjects I watch documentaries on. I love to read and cram in as much knowledge as I can, but documentaries offer a whole book’s worth of knowledge in an hour and a half or less. What could be better than that for expanding one’s horizons?
        In January of 2013 Edward Snowden contacted filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glen Greenwald using the codename
Citizenfour. What follows then is the story of how he subsequently released the information he had collected from the NSA about their mass data collection practices and the trials and tribulations surrounding him that followed those releases.
         Whether you agree with his methods or not, the information that Edward Snowden leaked 2 years ago hit the American public like a ton of bricks. I’ve long held the belief that things like my e-mails and phone calls were being recorded (and now you all know that I’m a little paranoid! I’ll explain why I’ve had that belief in a moment), but of course I had no way to know for sure. Because of that belief, for the most part, I tend to keep my phone conversations and e-mails generic, if not short; always keeping the thought in the back of my head that all of “this” is being recorded.  I’m pretty sure I was in the minority as far as that paranoia went though, until January of 2013. The release of those documents brought to the forefront the revelation that perhaps we should all be a little more paranoid.
        I can’t say for sure when the “Big Brother” state began, but it all came to light for me in my high school senior English class. My teacher had us read both
Brave New World and 1984, after which we had many long discussions about what all of the video cameras everywhere and things like cell phones and the internet meant for personal privacy. Of course, none of us had any idea how far the powers that be would take things by now, 15 years later.
        Some say that Snowden is a hero for bringing this information to light; others think he’s a treasonous criminal who should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Either way, this documentary is an important one and should be seen by as many people as possible. Informed people are strong people. It’s high time we all work a little harder to arm ourselves with knowledge in order to (at least attempt) to keep things in check. And so I’ll leave you with this quote from Thomas Jefferson:
 "If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed."
Citizenfour  is rated R, was written and directed by Laura Poitras and features Laura Poitras, Edward Snowden and Glen Greenwald. It is available now on Amazon Prime Streaming, HBO, HBO Go and on iTunes. (As of now I can't find a DVD/Blu Ray release date, but I'll be sure to update when and if I do find it.)