Director: Oliver Stone
Edward Snowden is one name which is known by everyone across the globe and the reason is him being the whistler blower on US Government’s secret spying projects. The leaks brought forward by Snowden shook the world and multiple first world nations to the core as they were exposed butt naked in front of everyone. The back story of Snowden has many iterations and every newspaper in the world has carried one. Now living in Russia under asylum, Edward Snowden has given his entire story to one of the best director’s of our time, Oliver Stone.
The story of Edward Snowden starts from the time he contacted “The Guardian” newspaper and shared all the classified information about Government’s secret surveillance programs, which spanned globally. This is where the fun begins. Although some might have thought a typical Hollywood spy flick where Snowden hanging down from the ceiling trying to copy the data, well sadly it’s not true. But what’s true is that the details of how he carried out the entire plan without a plan on what to do with it initially was captured perfectly by Mr. Stone.
Joseph Gorden-Levitt has done a remarkable job portraying Snowden with negligible details left out. Anyone could have been cast in this role but I could not imagine anyone else playing it solely because I believe that Joshep is an under rated actor and has an immense potential to carry out roles like this. Given his performance in Don-Jon, Looper, 50/50 & Inception, I say he did pull it off to an extent that one starts to feel for him moving towards the end of the movie. Snowden is a real life character and while watching the movie keep that in mind because whatever he has done, he did it for a greater cause and not for some cheap publicity. This movie perfectly captures on how Snowden stumbled across the spying tools used by the agencies and how he decided to do something about it.
The overall story is very gripping and provides an intimate look into the personal life of Snowden as well. His daily life struggles with his girl friend, played by Shailene Woodley and the constant battle of what’s right and what’s wrong in his mind. Shailene Woodley is a great actress and the emotional attachment of being with him and who only wants her partner to come back to her, seemed perfectly legit. Although I thought that the intimate bedroom scenes were not necessary for the story but then again, they were necessary in order to build that close relationship. There were loop holes and the story felt rushed on how Snowden and his girl friend initially met with a shadow of doubt on what his wife did and was she a spy herself but not revealed.
Other characters, although with a smaller appearances provide powerful presence especially Zachary Quinto, who plays the intriguing journalist dying to expose the wrongdoings. Nicholas Cage plays an instructor who trains the tech people responsible to run digital surveillance. His portrayal of a washed out intelligence officer was important to the story as it was his software which was initially used by agencies to set up the spying program.
Snowden is a very powerful movie with a clear story of how he ended up stealing all the intel regarding US spying programs but since the time is limited in a feature film, I am expecting the viewers to do a lot of searching on the Internet on plugging the gaps. It is a classic story telling by Oliver Stone and I’m not expecting any awards or recognition for him to direct this biopic but I’m expecting the viewers across the globe to recognize the real threat which is in front of us in this digital age. There is a surprise in the very end of the movie which will possibly change your entire perspective of how you watched the movie and it’s story. You’d have to watch it to know it.