The teaser trailer for Citizenfour is a prime example of how less is more. It grips the viewer's attention with a few simple tricks and almost guarantees they will remember this film and its title. A tension-building soundscape is admitted, an ambient score that we associate with with sci-fi, mysteries or thrillers. The shot of driving deeper and deeper into a dark tunnel (with only the overhead lights and the taillights of the car in front us to light the path) is all encompassing. And then add in filmmaker Laura Poitras' dramatic reading of an email she received from this "Citizenfour."
There's couple of other shots used for dressing the scenes wherein this story takes place, all feel like they're lifted from the opening credit sequence of the newest David Fincher film, which speaks to their coldness. It finishes with a brief scene of journalists sitting down to interview Edward Snowden, a young man who looks like someone you had a college class with, but the man behind a name that was in headline after headline over the last year. It's all too brief and left me wanting to see, hear and learn more. That's how you make a (teaser) trailer, be it for a documentary or a scripted film.
Citizenfour premiered at the New York Film Festival earlier this month and will be getting a limited theatrical release on October 24th. What did you think of this minimalist trailer and did it work its magic on you? Leave your impressions in the comments below, but keep in mind that they have the power to read everything that you type.