Movies: Snowden

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Rhys Ifans, Zachary Quinto
Directed By: Oliver Stone
Written By: Kieran Fitzgerald and Oliver Stone, from the books by Luke Harding and Anatoly Kucherena
Endgame Entertainment, 2016
R; 134 minutes
3.75 stars (out of 5)


I know I should probably be more outraged than I am about the NSA culling private emails, phone calls, etc., but it's never fazed me. Still, I was glad to get a bigger sense of what was going on and how Snowden came to do what he did. Of course, with a movie like this, I kept asking myself what had been regrouped, so to speak, to make it easier to follow. What had been changed for dramatic effect. It can be difficult, after all, to make a bunch of computer stuff compelling for two hours.

They did a nice job of weaving Snowden's personal life into his career. I think this is largely done to make him sympathetic and personable. Otherwise Snowden would just be a weirdo. But while Shailene Woodley worked her tail off in this, I didn't feel the chemistry I needed to feel in order to buy in to the relationship. Maybe I'm supposed to read this as there being a barrier there put up by Snowden's secretive work, but it just came off as flat.

Still, that didn't mar the movie. There was a fun time of saying, "What's Nicolas Cage doing here?" and "What's Tom Wilkinson doing here?" because I didn't read anything about the film before going to see it. And then I had a great, "Look! Nicholas Rowe!" moment, which made me stupid happy and probably biased me for the rest of the film.

It's a good film. Nothing special in my book, but solid. Not the action-packed kinds of stuff audiences are used to these days, but . . . It gives a concise account of what happened, which I suppose is the point.

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