The infamous story of Edward Snowden and the NSA scandal has been brought to life by Oliver Stone in his adaptation of the true events. “Snowden” is a harsh look at the life and personal sacrifice of Edward Snowden, the man who blew the whistle on one of the biggest government conspiracies in American history.
The story itself has already been documented in a few films such as “Citizenfour,” but this is the first look at Snowden as a person. Stone’s film revolves more around the personal life story of Snowden rather than the NSA scandal itself. The movie follows Snowden as he struggles with his patriotic career, relationship with his long time girlfriend and personal medical conditions. Being able to closely examine Snowden as a person brought this movie its much-needed emotional weight, but none of that would have even been possible if it weren’t for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s phenomenal performance.
There was clear attention to detail from Gordon-Levitt as his mannerisms and voice both matched that of the real Snowden incredibly well. The similarity was striking, and he was able to bring an extra force out of a script that may otherwise have faltered some.
The writing was clearly an Oliver Stone work as it made little attempt to be unbiased in its subject matter. Snowden’s character arc is very literally from faithful conservative to patriotic liberal, and there’s no mistaking which Stone has a higher opinion of. This may detract from the film for some viewers, but it’s enough of an entertaining plot that it can be looked past.
“Snowden” is able to convey some extremely strong messages about trust and corruption, and it is definitely easy to see why Snowden acted the way he did. Some call him a patriot and some call him a traitor, but it’s clear to see he did what he thought was right. And after watching this film, it’s difficult to disagree.