Oliver Stone is known as that director who can tackle conspiracy or political theories as shown in JFK as a perfect example. He has his own saying about his beliefs, and I do too. All of his movies have messages to get across in a way he’s trying to connect with. Even though he hasn’t made a great movie in years, I didn’t think it will have him comes back to promise in tackling real-life whistleblower Edward Snowden is the perfectly titled Snowden.
In 2013, Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon- Levitt) released documents about the Government monitoring people on their devices without anyone knowing of their surveillance. He’s the one person who actually had the balls the show everything. It should be considered that people’s stuff needs to be private. His proven that he loves his country and is willing to protect it at any cost. But what point does it lead to something impactful or troubling?
Some people will question this with “Can we trust our Government?” or “Should we be careful about who’s watching us?” Those types of questions really drive on the brain thought on how the world really handles it in real-life. This was based on the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour which I Heard many great things about it, and I hope to catch it one day. Does it all add up to a well-done thriller? Not in a way that’s handled perfectly.
Gordon-Levitt captured Snowden physically wise and through his voice. Not necessary as Oscar-worthy performance, but easily the best thing about the film. It’s also ironic that Levitt is playing a real person that was based on an Oscar-winning documentary just like last year’s The Walk. This made you conflict about Snowden being a hero after he leaked everything. It’s hard to give a responsive answer because it’s the right thing to do with nearly every single device is being hacked by the NSA. Shailene Woodley as his girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, gave one of the best performances she’s given in a while, and I believed in their relationship for a large majority of the film.
Nicolas Cage was honestly wasted as it feels like he had about five minutes of screen time. But it wasn’t as interesting as it sounds for a fascinating story like this. Sometimes, it felt very conventional for what it was going for.
Nothing was nearly special about this as it manages to be anti-climactic or unfulfilling in the end. Even the script delves into exposition that most audiences would not understand because I’m not smart enough to grasp coding or hacking skills performed in this.
In typical Stone fashion, it goes on too long at 134 minutes, which the pace that could’ve been better if it cut off 12 minutes. It left me uninterested after a while just waiting for everything to come up roses. There was one scene that was riveting I’ll say that. Fortunately, this wasn’t like the dreadful WikiLeaks film The Fifth Estate, which was in my mindset before watching this.
For my take, I could’ve watched the documentary instead to gain more incident with the information that’s given. Despite a great performance from Gordon-Levitt, it plays it safe for a subject matter like this that should’ve been great, but ended up being okay.
Seeking intelligence and paranoia to uncover the truth, Snowden wasn’t as provocative for a Stone picture.