This year, a documentary deserves consideration as best movie of the year. Its lead "character" is as deserving and compelling in his extensive screen time as any established, high performing actor. The film's main supporting player also exudes intelligent and laudable human quality, including his movie and real life role of supporting the salience of the lead character.
The as-it-unfolds account contains as much dramatic tension as you can expect from the best scripted narratives. To say how much larger than life and focused on truth this film feels is something that fictional concoctions sometimes stir within us. To say this about a documentary film bubbles reactions that range from paralysis to outrage, from abdication to activism, from cynicism to some absurd aura of hopeful potential.
The film is "Citizenfour." It documents the coming together of a filmmaker (Laura Poitras), a couple of journalists (Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill), and Edward Snowden. The Edward Snowden that has been planted in your brain through countless media cycles is a spy, a traitor, or at least a misguided young man who has sorely compromised this great country. Or he is a whistleblower, a hero, an example of a patriotic American sacrificing his liberty so that liberty in the world stands a chance of being reinvigorated.
After seeing the film, it seems no one would dismiss the courage, genuineness, and well-spoken thoughtfulness of Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald. The film bleeds a combined sense of anxiousness and poise.
"Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" in 2005 (about corporate greed run amok) dealt a huge service to bearing witness. Such insidious individual and institutional behaviors must be exposed and exposed well. "Citizenfour" jacks up the ante big time. "Citizenfour" exposes industrial strength invasiveness that drops jaws and drawers, no matter what you think you already know about the NSA and so called homeland security operations. It is an impressively charged good movie.