The true story of Edward Snowden, an analyst who leaked the NSA's illegal surveillance techniques to the press and became a fugitive.
Directed by Oliver Stone
Written by Kieran Fitzgerald and Oliver Stone
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley,
Zachary Quinto, Melissa Leo, Tom Wilkinson, Rhys Ifans,
Nicolas Cage, Scott Eastwood, Timothy Olyphant, Ben Chaplin
Based on the books Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena and The Snowden Files by Luke Harding
Snowden is a story that needed to be told and Oliver Stone told it the right way and at the right time. It's no secret that we as Americans live in challenging times, when people are shot to death on American soil every day and our freedom and privacy are tested every time we post something on Facebook or send a text message. Edward Snowden saw that our freedom was being taken from us in the form of unlawful surveillance by the NSA and took steps to ensure that we all knew what was being done to us. For his selfless act, he was branded a traitor to the United States government and forced to flee to Moscow where he has stayed for the past three years. This film is the story of why Snowden took it upon himself to act after years of being told he was doing his duty to his country.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers one of the strongest performances of his career so far, going full chameleon in his portrayal of Edward Snowden. He plays both his personal side and his political side, humanizing a man that's been demonized in the news for years for simply doing the right thing against the wrong people. The supporting cast is decent enough, though they never really get enough character development to give them any substance. Apart from Rhys Ifans, who plays Snowden's mentor Corbin O'Brien in a strong performance that once again made me wonder why he doesn't get more work. Stone expertly directs this political drama, using real-life news clips and sound bites to show how the whole country turned on Snowden almost overnight.
While the film is by no means perfect, it didn't deserve to be labeled a rotten tomato. It's Oliver Stone's best film in years and deserves to be seen by every person in America who wants to know more about a man who most people only know by name and not by what he did. Snowden delivers a poignant retelling of a game-changing event in recent history, one that will forever resonate because it changed the way we view our government. Snowden made it known that the government really is out to get us, a fact that becomes increasingly more unnerving with each passing day.