No film, until "Citizenfour" has managed to set itself within the real room with the real history-makers at the very time when they changed the world. It is a film that feels immediate and dangerous. Our emotions are not manipulated by dramatic technique injecting tension, rather the filmmaking compliments the yet-tangible crisis. These events are still enfolding following people who are still being targeted by the most powerful state on Earth. There is no actor playing Edward Snowden, creating the illusion of his nervousness, paranoia, and excitement. This is Edward Snowden himself on camera, feeling those emotions. "Citizenfour" transcends rote filmmaking, this is a pure historical source.
Most of "Citizenfour" takes place in a hotel room, with three people sharing the crampt space. Snowden himself mostly stays sprawled on the white bed, while reporters Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill take shifts between using the one chair and standing. This room is a basic white zone of tasteful mild - the kind of generic slightly-above-average temporary bedroom that could be found in any city on the globe. The first interviews have that forced awkward quality you would expect from people meeting for the very first time, but as time moves and the momentousness of their discussion grows, a bond is formed. They nervously smile with the knowledge they are starting a battle against terrifying people of unimaginable power. Even in this isolated room, their enemies could be listening. Big Brother, long-awaited and long-feared, is now here.