Sunday, July 23, 2017

Movie review: Snowden

 In 2013, CIA technician Ed Snowden shocked the world by releasing to the press stolen CIA documents outlining extensive illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens.

Melissa Leo (Laura Poitras), Zachary Quinto (Glenn), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Ed Snowden), Rhys Ifans (Corbin), Nicolas Cage (Hank Forrester), Tom Wilkinson (MacAskill), Shailene Woodley (Lindsay).

Snowden follows along as Ed Snowden rises through the ranks of the intelligence community. Eventually earning a high security clearance, Ed finds multiple programs he wrote have been corrupted for illegal surveillance on U.S. citizens and others. Dismayed by government corruption, Snowden steals and then releases to the press classified U.S. government security documents.

While the film is interesting, with a 2 hour plus run-time focused primarily on the drama, it can be a bit slow at times. The film is based both on real events and The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding and Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena and feels like it followed the known facts fairly well.

Acting was good with Gordon-Levitt portraying Snowden and delivering quite nicely. Quinto was enjoyable with high energy and intensity. Leo and Wilkinson rounded out the main cast nicely and both were solid. Ifans and Cage were enjoyable in smaller roles, and the remainder of the supporting cast presented well.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were fairly mild but solid and fit the film. Dialogue was solid with nice depth, and presented the details easily. Sound and soundtrack are fitting.

Overall Snowden is a well done drama with just enough thrill to keep the audience engaged. The greatest factor influencing enjoyment of this film is probably individual feelings about the ethics of government surveillance and whether you feel Snowden is a traitor, or a patriot.

With some mild sexuality, violence, and foul language, save this one for older teens and above.

Released: 2016
Reviewed: 7.16.17
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Biographies, Crime Drama, Political Drama

copyright ©2017 Dave Riedel

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