Movie Review: Stone’s biopic reveals Snowden’s personal data

Stephen Underwood, Reporter

“Snowden” is a movie based on the real life controversy surrounding the man of the same name who exposed secrets of the United States government spying on Americans through phone wiretapping and the Internet. The movie is directed by Oliver Stone, famous for movies like “Platoon,” “Born on the Fourth of July,” “The Doors,” and “World Trade Center.” It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and there’s a cameo by the real life Edward Snowden.

The movie has a dramatic tone as movie goers would expect from an Oliver Stone film, the movie is very detailed and it draws one in who watches it. It keeps viewers on the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next.

The movie is dramatic in many ways. For example, it has a wild opening involving Snowden holding a Rubik’s Cube toy in his hand that seems silly, but actually has a purpose when it’s explained later that Snowden’s instructor (Nicolas Cage) gives it to him as part of his learning process and training which takes up a space of the movie’s beginning.

The audience sees Snowden impressing his teachers and learning how to program and manipulate computers and electronics, and the Rubik’s Cube has even more significance when towards the end of the film.

The drama is very much detailed. Viewers get to see Snowden’s early life leading up to the film’s main events starting from being in the military before joining the CIA, and the movie itself seems to cross genres by combining conspiracy with romance.

Snowden’s relationship with his girlfriend Lindsay (Shailene Woodley) plays a big role. While watching the movie, one sees his relationship with her have its ups and downs during Snowden’s time with the CIA. The flick goes as far as to show Snowden dealing with internal conflicts of his own personal privacy at work and his sex life with his girlfriend being on blast.

The movie in general is one big flashback of events leading up to the finale where Snowden publicly insults Barack Obama, the White House, the government and his former employees for what he considers exploitation of Americans’ personal lives.

This movie also deals with issues of terrorism and network hacking going back to the Bush administration. It especially has a twist in the ending.

Snowden tries to leave the United States to avoid being arrested and prosecuted, is denied entry back and entry into other countries and he finally decides to hide out in Russia. This gives the conclusion of the film more significance because his girlfriend, who is later questioned but not treated as a criminal like him, decides to move in with him.

Overall “Snowden” might not be a quick and fast paced film, but at least it’s logical and sensible. It’s easy to follow, and has great acting and storytelling. It’s well worth the money to see it in theaters.

(Three out of five stars)