Citizenfour expects everyone to know why it’s so important.

You feel it, but you’d be hard pressed to find visuals or explanations that elaborate on the significance of Edward Snowden’s actions.

The focus instead is on Snowden and the days leading up to the big event: blowing the whistle on the US government’s surveillance activities.

Yes, blowing the whistle was and is a big deal.

But the movie also feels like a missed opportunity.

I’d loved to have seen it tackle topics related to civic engagement and what it means to live in a modern democracy. And, the question of liberty, why is it so important to preserve? It touches on these and other topics, yet fails to delve meaningfully into any one of them.

I left thinking that Snowden is a pretty grounded individual and that the journalists working with him were doing a good job.

Overall, Citizenfour preaches to the converted, leaves us with the sense that we’re being watched and offers no alternative. If you’re wondering what exactly happened when #Snowden was trending on twitter, this is the documentary for you.

image by: George Kelly on Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)