Snowden

Snowden
  • 2016
  • US
  • 134 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Oliver Stone
  • Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Rhys Ifans, Nicolas Cage, Melissa Leo

The story of Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who in 2013 leaked thousands of classified documents to the Guardian, revealing the scope and reach of the USA's global surveillance program. Smartly dramatised and absorbing drama with fine performances from all, with Gordon-Levitt completely convincing as the earnest, idealistic Snowden.

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Veteran director Oliver Stone turns his lens on Edward Snowden, the man branded in equal measures traitor and patriot when he revealed the American government’s secret surveillance of its own people. Tackling similar terrain to the documentary Citizenfour, in Stone’s hands this film plays more as a tense action thriller than political expose.

The film opens as Snowden (Joseph GordonLevitt) is holed up in a Hong Kong hotel room with filmmaker Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and journalists Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto) and Ewen MacAskill (Tom Wilkinson), about to release the information which will put his life at risk and change the entire world’s understanding of cyber-spying. As he tells them his story, the film cuts back and forth to reveal how Snowden gained access to the information, how he managed to get it out and why he felt the need to go public. In the process, we get to know Snowden more as a person, not just a name, and understand the moral conflict that brought him to his life-changing decision.

Gordon-Levitt captures Snowden’s aloof, reserved quality and yet also manages to bring a vulnerability and strength of character to a man who is now either celebrated or vilified in the press.

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Reviews & features

Snowden

16 Sep 20164 stars

TIFF 2016: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the titular whistleblower in Oliver Stone's solid biopic

The reality of global intelligence gathering long ago outstripped the fiction of Orwell's Big Brother. It took Edward Snowden to reveal the extent of the US government sanctioned monitoring of every aspect of the lives of its own citizens and trusted…

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