The Daily Banter

MEMBERS ONLY: Snowden’s Fans Made It Really Hard to Be Gracious About ‘Citizenfour’

Written by Bob Cesca

Those of you who listen to the Bob & Chez Show After Party podcast are aware that I announced I was rooting for the Snowden documentary Citizenfour to win an Academy Award. I also fully disclosed that it was partly due to the fact that I'm friends with someone who worked on the film, and partly because I watched a good portion of it and thought it was genuinely a well-made documentary.

No, this doesn't mean that I'm suddenly aboard the Edward Snowden bandwagon. Yes, I still believe the journalism surrounding the National Security Agency and Snowden has been atrocious, and will continue to sporadically cover it for The Daily Banter. Along those lines I believe a great many otherwise smart people have been duped by clever click-bait headlines, repackaged old news, buried evidence and hyperbolic ledes. Questioning the motives and actions of the characters in a movie doesn't necessarily make the movie bad. It's not difficult to like movies featuring characters we dislike as long as the movie isn't bad.

And Citizenfour wan't a bad movie.

In fact, the extended sequence in Snowden's Hong Kong hotel room was riveting and reminded me of the scene in JFK in which Joe Pesci as David Ferry met with Kevin Costner's Jim Garrison in a New Orleans hotel room, fearing that he, Ferry, was about to be murdered. Snowden wasn't quite as hypertensive and jittery, but the whole thing was eerily similar -- except this all went down for real, which amplified the tension. Frankly, I would've had far less to say about the Snowden affair had it been reported solely in the form of this documentary and not the endless drip-drip-drip of serially misleading bombshells.

I might post a full review of the movie next week. But for now, let's talk about the reaction to Laura Poitras' well-deserved Oscar win.

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