Posted in Movie Monday

Citizen Four, Once More

Movie Monday: Did You See and Agree?

It’s Monday! I saw a movie! Let’s discuss.

Snowden poster
*to the tune of Frère Jacques
Are you listening?
Are you listening?
Snowden says you all do.
Snowden says you all do.
Shame on you.
Shame on you.

The story: Based on a true story! The second such film I’ve watched in the past few weeks (last week, I reviewed Sully). Edward Snowden was a contractor for the NSA (National Security Agency) who decided to leak classified information to The Guardian (their NSA files are here). The information exposed the fact that the United States was using mass surveillance/data gathering in a way that he, and many others believe, is illegal. The government claims whatever they did was for protection and thwarting of terrorism, but the documents reveal more. Snowden fictionally tells the true story of how long it took him to decide to take this action, why he became a whistleblower, and briefly what the consequences of that decision were for him personally (he currently lives in exile in Russia).

The good: 

  • It’s a story worth telling that could spur dialogue about the power (abuse of power), reach (0verreach), and transparency (secrecy) of governments.
  • Even if you know the story, it’s a good film.
  • And Joseph Gordon-Levitt (and his dimples) literally disappeared for most of the movie — I forgot it was him.

The not-as-good: 

  • It’s probably preaching to the choir — people who think Snowden’s a traitor wouldn’t probably watch the movie (am I wrong?).
  • It’s an Oliver Stone movie, and that means the point is a brick hitting you upside the head many times. A scene toward the end, when Edward realizes what he must do, features his now not-as-wholesome mentor in a bigger-than-life Skype session, his IMAX-sized head leaning toward and towering over a tiny Edward in a conference room. We get it — the conundrum looms large and he must do something, now!
  • It features my Nominee of the Year for my unofficially awesome  Gwyneth Paltrow-Natalie Portman-Anne Hathaway-Please Go The Fuck Away Award: Shailene Woodley. I’m sooo tired of her, in EVERYTHING.

Grade:  The NSA already knows this, but I’m giving Snowden 2 stars out of four. If you’re interested in this/him, it’s best to watch the documentary Citizen Four, and read about it instead.

Let me know what you thought of this flick in the comments (or just have the NSA forward your review to me… I’m sure they already have it if you posted it….). Thanks for reading.

P.S. Snowden and I go back a ways, so here, a meme I made in 2015 (in response to my learning some people have hundreds of unread emails in their inboxes….):

Snowden email meme

Movie Monday is my extremely infrequent movie/TV show review series. Click here to read more reviews.


I'm a writer who loves to laugh and smile. :-)

4 thoughts on “Citizen Four, Once More

  1. I appreciate your review, but Oliver Stone movies never call to me. I agree with your name of and choice for an award. That Shailene Woodley chick is, as they say, overexposed. Buh-bye.


    1. I agree — I watched for Snowden, not Stone. I think I’ve only ever seen one other film by him. Not my fave, as evidenced even by this review!
      Thanks. I’m glad I’m not the only one sick of that particular chick.


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