The world we now live in is a shady one. The last few years alone has (whether we want to accept it or not) opened Pandora’s Box of interpreting the blurred line between surveillance and privacy. George Orwell was very right and very wrong. He was right about everyone being under constant surveillance one day. He was wrong when the people all freely agreed to it.
“Snowden” is the docudrama based on the career of Edward Snowden, a whistleblower who worked for multiple government agencies working in surveillance and clandestine security. Completely blindsided by what his own government was doing, as Snowden continued to work in government agencies and had more of the digital veil removed from in front of his own eyes, was when he made the decision to go public. Doing so, of course, would result in treason, mutiny, and every classified violation under the sun.
Oliver Stone sets the movie primarily in a hotel room in Hong Kong as Snowden gives his first interview to British and American journalists. The rest is told in flashback regarding his very short-lived military career and his quick rise to the top-secret top of what was shown to essentially be a CIA hacking school. Only soon after to be ping pong’d around the world for a variety of surveillance missions for the entire alphabet soup of government agencies. All with his girlfriend in tow who seems to understand (though not always agree) with the rule of being unable to ask any questions regarding the specificity of the work Snowden does.
Stone’s display of the dramatic and overly dramatic played well in showing suspense, intrigue, and anger; the emotions the character Snowden displays throughout the film. Yet, I personally never felt confused or overwhelmed in following the plot.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt absolutely nailed the role of Snowden, at least in regards to his cadence and the presumed reactions he would’ve had to all of this. I read that Gordon-Levitt (along with Oliver Stone) travelled to Russia several times (where the real Snowden now resides) for research.
“Snowden” is a fantastic movie that no matter what side you sit on at the political table will leave you somewhere between intrigued and infuriated. I highly recommend it.