Reviewed byLee Eisenberg ([email protected])Vote: 9/10/10
In June, 2013, it came out that the National Security Agency had amassive espionage network in place. Within a few days, the source ofthe information revealed himself. Edward Snowden was a computerprofessional who had been working first for the CIA, and then switchedto the NSA. Before long, his conscience started bothering him, and sohe downloaded evidence of the espionage network, flew to Hong Kong, andrevealed it to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, whiledirector Laura Poitras filmed the interview. Without a doubt it was thebiggest story of 2013.
This story got told in Poitras's Oscar-winning documentary"Citizenfour". Oliver Stone's "Snowden" tells the story, but also looksat the years leading up to Snowden's employment by the NSA: hismilitary service, his stationing in Geneva, and then Japan, and finallyhis employment with the NSA outlet in Hawaii.
I don't know if I would go so far as to call this a masterpiece, butwhat's mind-blowing is the sheer scope of not just the espionagenetwork, but everything else that it comprised. Without a doubt, themost important scene is the worldwide revelation of Snowden's leaks,and Snowden's subsequent flight to Russia, where he remains to thisday.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a fine job as Snowden, as do Shailene Woodleyas his lover Lindsay Mills. The rest of the cast includes ZacharyQuinto (Spock in the "Star Trek" reboot) as Greenwald, Melissa Leo(Alice in "The Fighter") as Poitras, and an assortment of other people,including some surprise cast members.
All in all, I recommend the movie. Even though the viewer knows theplot, it's still a suspenseful story.
Reviewed bywww.ramascreen.comVote: 8/10/10
The great director who's not afraid to tackle matters of war,conspiracy and controversial American political issues, has returned.Only this time, Oliver Stone has upgraded his latest film's look andtone to make it seem more digitally advanced, which is fine because itfits the story of Edward Snowden and we're living in this day and agewhere every millennial's favorite series happens to be "Mr. Robot."SNOWDEN, as you've guessed it, is a thriller about the whistleblowerand former intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden, played in this filmby the talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt. "Divergent" star, ShaileneWoodley plays his girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, who stays by his sidethrough his ordeals of working for the government due to his patriotismwhile at the same time feeling conflicted about how the government runsits methods in the name of national security. This film dramatizes theevents that led Snowden to becoming one of the most wanted men in theworld.
First, I have to give praises to Joseph Gordon-Levitt who I think wentabove and beyond in not only capturing Edward Snowden's mannerism andthe way he speaks but my goodness, Gordon-Levitt's performance in thisfilm is so calculating and precise, you can see his brains constantlywork itself out, just by looking at him. And Shailene Woodley gives hermost mature performance yet, because this film is more than just aboutthe whole surveillance controversy, it's also about how that negativelyaffects Snowden & Mills relationship and I think it's fairly handled,both aspects don't take away or diminish each other's importance in theprocess.
When it comes to the film's dramatizing the U.S. and British globalsurveillance program, I'm sure there'll be questions as to howauthentic the portrayal is, as far as the headquarters are concerned,for example, some may see it as a bit too much like a Bond villain'ssecret lair, but you'll be entertained by some of the visual effectsthat the film applies to showcase hacking and how one person canconnect to another person and to another person and what's mostfascinating about it is that there's a programmer watching the wholething the entire time.
So SNOWDEN is essentially part conspiracy thriller, part relationshipdrama, and to a certain extent, part heist. Overall, I think it's ariveting film that keeps you engaged and more importantly gets youthinking, which I think is the goal of Oliver Stone's movies. Does thefilm lean one way in that it paints Edward Snowden as a hero? I thinkso, but not in a way that intentionally judges those who at the endstill think of him as a traitor. SNOWDEN might cause audiences tobecome more paranoid or it might cause audiences to start supportingany effort to hold our government accountable. The jury's still out.
-- Rama's Screen --
Reviewed bymichaeljtrubicVote: 8/10/10
I know he won best picture for platoon - which also was a seriousendeavour - but its behind us.
Vietnam is over, Vietnam is done.
Snowden lives. Actually, Snowden escaped and survived.
He went to what might be the only place people can be protected from USgovernment agencies. I would like to think all whistle blowers wouldhave to do is cross into Canada but then Snowden would know. He wassmart - he is smart.
I remember Bambi Bembenek. She blew a whistle too and made it toCanada. Poor thing.
This is a must see for all except those that don't care theirprotection set forth by the founders of the United States can be takenaway by bullies, perhaps corrupted by limitless power of a newindustrialized intelligence complex.
Masterful work by Oliver Stone.
Thanks for bringing it to Tiff.
Oliver, please ask for a theatre more appropriate for Q&A for Snowden2.0
SNOWDEN stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and is written and directed by Oliver Stone. The script is based on the books The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding and Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena.