11 September 2016 | Ramascreen
Riveting! Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives an Oscar-worthy performance.
The great director who's not afraid to tackle matters of war, conspiracy and controversial American political issues, has returned. Only this time, Oliver Stone has upgraded his latest film's look and tone to make it seem more digitally advanced, which is fine because it fits the story of Edward Snowden and we're living in this day and age where every millennial's favorite series happens to be "Mr. Robot." SNOWDEN, as you've guessed it, is a thriller about the whistleblower and former intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden, played in this film by the talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt. "Divergent" star, Shailene Woodley plays his girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, who stays by his side through his ordeals of working for the government due to his patriotism while at the same time feeling conflicted about how the government runs its methods in the name of national security. This film dramatizes the events that led Snowden to becoming one of the most wanted men in the world.
First, I have to give praises to Joseph Gordon-Levitt who I think went above and beyond in not only capturing Edward Snowden's mannerism and the way he speaks but my goodness, Gordon-Levitt's performance in this film is so calculating and precise, you can see his brains constantly work itself out, just by looking at him. And Shailene Woodley gives her most mature performance yet, because this film is more than just about the whole surveillance controversy, it's also about how that negatively affects Snowden & Mills relationship and I think it's fairly handled, both aspects don't take away or diminish each other's importance in the process.
When it comes to the film's dramatizing the U.S. and British global surveillance program, I'm sure there'll be questions as to how authentic the portrayal is, as far as the headquarters are concerned, for example, some may see it as a bit too much like a Bond villain's secret lair, but you'll be entertained by some of the visual effects that the film applies to showcase hacking and how one person can connect to another person and to another person and what's most fascinating about it is that there's a programmer watching the whole thing the entire time.
So SNOWDEN is essentially part conspiracy thriller, part relationship drama, and to a certain extent, part heist. Overall, I think it's a riveting film that keeps you engaged and more importantly gets you thinking, which I think is the goal of Oliver Stone's movies. Does the film lean one way in that it paints Edward Snowden as a hero? I think so, but not in a way that intentionally judges those who at the end still think of him as a traitor. SNOWDEN might cause audiences to become more paranoid or it might cause audiences to start supporting any effort to hold our government accountable. The jury's still out.
-- Rama's Screen --