SNOWDEN stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and is written and directed by Oliver Stone. The script is based on the books The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding and Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena.Written by
Open Road Films
In June, 2013, it came out that the National Security Agency had a massive espionage network in place. Within a few days, the source of the information revealed himself. Edward Snowden was a computer professional who had been working first for the CIA, and then switched to the NSA. Before long, his conscience started bothering him, and so he downloaded evidence of the espionage network, flew to Hong Kong, and revealed it to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, while director Laura Poitras filmed the interview. Without a doubt it was the biggest story of 2013.
This story got told in Poitras's Oscar-winning documentary "Citizenfour". Oliver Stone's "Snowden" tells the story, but also looks at the years leading up to Snowden's employment by the NSA: his military service, his stationing in Geneva, and then Japan, and finally his employment with the NSA outlet in Hawaii.
I don't know if I would go so far as to call this a masterpiece, but what's mind-blowing is the sheer scope of not just the espionage network, but everything else that it comprised. Without a doubt, the most important scene is the worldwide revelation of Snowden's leaks, and Snowden's subsequent flight to Russia, where he remains to this day.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a fine job as Snowden, as do Shailene Woodley as his lover Lindsay Mills. The rest of the cast includes Zachary Quinto (Spock in the "Star Trek" reboot) as Greenwald, Melissa Leo (Alice in "The Fighter") as Poitras, and an assortment of other people, including some surprise cast members.
All in all, I recommend the movie. Even though the viewer knows the plot, it's still a suspenseful story.
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