The highlight of the 2014 New York Film Festival, is a documentary about NSA whistleblower-leaker Edward Snowden -- a movie considerably more exciting any recent thriller I can think of. The real life drama of journalist Laura Poitras who made the movie, filming her meetings with Snowden in Hong Kong, where he gave her, Glenn Greenwald and his Guardian colleague Ewen MacAskill the NSA scoop is as gripping as it gets.
CITIZENFOUR was followed by a sustained standing ovation, as well as a fantastic post film discussion that even featured Snowden's father.
The footage from Snowden's Hong Long hotel room ranges from the heart pounding, dramatic, to the surreal. Snowden is at once remarkably young and self possessed as he is not only laying out the biggest story of the decade in front of our eyes, but deciding his fate -- when and how he should come forward, what will the consequences be for his girlfriend and and family, how NSA apologists will attempt to turn him into the story to distract from the revelations about mass domestic spying. Even though we mostly know how things turned out, the movie plays like a very tense fictional thriller. I don't won't to ruin anything by saying more - just see it. It has one more showing at the NYFF this afternoon, not sure when it will be released. (There are still many revelations in CITIZENFOUR, which gets its title from the handle Snowden initially used when he anonymously contacted Poitras -- including the fact that Snowden has been reunited with his girlfriend).