Snowden

"Excellent"

Snowden Review


Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed filmmaking to trace the lives of such people as JFK, Nixon, Jim Morrison and George W. Bush. And now he turns his attention to whistleblower Edward Snowden. This is an urgent, skilfully made film that manages to avoid preachy politics as it asks the central question: was Snowden a traitor or a patriot?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Ed, a nerdy genius who never went to university but was spotted by CIA trainer Corbin (Rhys Ifans) and brought into the fold. Rising through the ranks, he moves from Virginia to Switzerland, Japan and Hawaii, accompanied by his long-suffering girlfriend Lindsay (Shailene Woodley), who isn't allowed to know what he does for a living. Over the years, his faith in America's government is shaken as he discovers the scale of its data-gathering operation, collecting all telephone and internet information on every person on earth, whether or not they're a suspect. And he believes that the taxpayers have a right to know what their elected officials are doing.

The script tells the story as Ed describes his life to filmmaker Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and two Guardian journalists (Zachary Quinto and Tom Wilkinson) while hiding in a Hong Kong hotel, an event recounted in the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour. Eventually, this element of the story generates some proper action as the CIA tracks him down and gives chase. Stone orchestrates these scenes expertly, generating some real adrenaline without sacrificing the bigger narrative. And Gordon-Levitt is simply remarkable, vanishing into the role so effectively that the final dissolve to the real Snowden is barely perceptible. His chemistry with Woodley is complex and engaging (even with a gratuitous sex scene), creating a terrific central love story to guide the audience through the events.

Meanwhile the starry supporting cast adds all kinds of interest, from Ifan's intense fatherly stare to Ben Schnetzer's kinetic banter (as a fellow computer whiz) to Nicolas Cage's enjoyable twitchiness (as a veteran agent). But of course it's the story's timely themes that make it compelling viewing, as it grapples with the security versus privacy debate and tries to pinpoint the moment when government snooping becomes truly invasive. And there's also the fact that this isn't open for debate: officials really did break the law and lie to Congress. They also have used private people's information for nefarious purposes. In other words, whatever your view on Snowden himself, this finely crafted film will make you worry about the future of Western society. And it'll also make you cover up your webcam.

Watch the trailer for Snowden:



Snowden

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 134 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th September 2016

Box Office USA: $21,562,346.00

Budget: $45M

Distributed by: Open Road Films

Production compaines: Endgame Entertainment, Onda Entertainment, KrautPack Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Fresh: 119 Rotten: 69

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Philip Schulz-Deyle,

Starring: as Edward Snowden, as Lindsay Mills, as Laura Poitras, as Glenn Greenwald, as Ewen MacAskill, as Trevor James, as Male Drone Pilot, as CIA Agent Geneva, as Gabriel Sol, as Patrick Haynes (as Lakeith Lee Stanfield), as Corbin O'Brian, as Hank Forrester, as Janine Gibson, Jaymes Butler as Master Sgt. Robinson, Robert Firth as Dr. Stilwell, Jamie Hodge as Coffee Shop Patron / Pedestrian, Gregory Schwabe as Drill Sgt. 2 Martinez, Christy Meyer as Dr. Laurel, as Robert Tibbo, Edward Snowden as Edward Snowden

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