Snowden is the rare movie that needed to be made. Though it slants slightly left politically, writer/director Oliver Stone does an even-handed job telling Edward Snowden’s story.
Stone paints Snowden as a patriot who often expresses love for flag and country. That’s one area where it slants left and is something those leaning to the right might dispute.
Most of you are familiar with Snowden’s story. In his work for the CIA and the National Security Agency, he was privy to top-level spy stuff. But the blatant misuse of power and technology by the America’s super spies bugged the guy to the point that he could take it no more. So in May 2013, Snowden took classified documents from the NSA and spilled the beans about the agency’s spying on the American people and people across the world.
Not surprisingly, Snowden was indicted for espionage and theft of government property. He fled to Russia, where he has been given temporary asylum.
Oh, and Snowden is a love story too.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the troubled computer expert. As he is in every movie, Levitt gets major mileage out of not talking much. The camera loves him, and fans perceive him as brilliant, even though he’s often not acting but is the camera’s subject.
Observing all he witnesses in a 9-year span drives the somewhat reclusive Snowden even more inward. This characterization of Snowden plays perfectly into Levitt’s acting style.
Gorden-Levitt is also surrounded with a great supporting cast. Shailene Woodley (the Divergent series) is Snowden’s girlfriend Lisa Mills. And like her co-star, she excels at looking great while doing very little.
Rhys Ifans (Alice Through the Looking Glass) plays this year’s best supporting work as Snowden’s mentor Corbin O’Brian. He growls his lines and offers half finished sentences as hooks that intrigue Snowden and move him deeper into the government’s spy system.
This is Stone’s first major film since 2010’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. With good material, Stone has always proved to be an excellent filmmaker. Snowden is long, but it is not slow. It is — typical of Stone — a bit heavy-handed.
Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Rhys Ifans, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Olyphant, Scott Eastwood, Ben Chaplin, Joely Richardson, Edward Snowden
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated R for mature themes, language, brief nudity. It’s playing at the Carmike 12, Regal’s Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Queensgate 12, and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.