Snowden (2016)

Director: Oliver Stone
Writer: Kieran Fitzgerald, Oliver Stone
Based on: the books The Snowden Files by Luke Harding and Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Melissa Leo, Zachary QuintoShailene Woodley, Rhys Ifans, Nicolas Cage, Tom Wilkinson, Joely Richardson, Timothy Olyphant, Erol Sander, Scott Eastwood, Ben Chaplin
Seen on: 4.10.2016

Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) used to be a soldier, then he started working for the NSA. Growing disillusioned with the NSA’s surveillance practices, he decides to do something about it. He contacts journalists Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto) and leaks documents and evidence through them. But whistleblowing like that is treason and Snowden has to be smart to make sure that the information reaches the public and that he doesn’t get caught.

Snowden is a very nice companion piece to Citizenfour. It’s a well done, engaging film and you can’t repeat this horrifying story and the sheer scope of everything enough.

Edward Snowden has repeatedly said that this story isn’t about him – it’s about what the NSA and other agencies around the world do, it’s about the basic rights that are stamped on. The film Snowden does exactly what the person Snowden didn’t want: putting him right in the center of the attention. But since he makes a personal appearance in the film, I assume he’s okay with how things went here.

Either way I think it’s best if you watch it together with Citizenfour, and be it simply to keep in mind that this is a real story we’re talking about here. And to remind yourself how absolutely unbelievable the entire thing is – and how much has happened and how little has changed since Snowden went public with his information. The film hammers that point home again in a very effective way.

The cast is great as well. They were all well-chosen to resemble their real life counterparts and give good performances, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt is so close to Edward Snowden, he becomes so much like him, he keeps walking the line between impressive and creepy. It’s absolutely fantastic to watch.

And watch it you should. If only to become really, really angry about everything again. Snowden, much as Citizenfour, will do that for you. And hopefully we can use that anger, all of us, to be jostled out of complacency and change things. It would be necessary.

Summarizing: Well done.

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