Snowden

In Brief: Tells tattle tail Edward Snowden’s story

Snowden is the rare movie that needed to be made. Though it slants slightly left politically, writer/director Oliver Stone does a fairly even-handed job telling Edward Snowden’s story. Stone paints Snowden as a patriot who often expresses love of flag and country. That’s one area where it slants left and is something those leaning to the political right might dispute.

Most of you are familiar with Snowden’s story. In his work for both the CIA and the NSA, he was privy to top-level spy stuff. But the blatant misuse of power and technology by the nation’s super spies bugged the guy to the point he could take it no more. So in May of 2013, Snowden took classified documents from the National Security Agency (NSA) and spilled the beans about the agency’s spying on the American people and people all over the world.

Not surprisingly, Snowden was indicted for espionage and theft of government property and fled to Russia where he has been given temporary asylum.

Oh, and Snowden is a love story, too.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt does the troubled computer expert. As he is in every movie, Levitt gets major milage out of not talking much. The camera loves him and fans perceive him as brilliant even though he’s often not acting but rather is just the camera’s subject.

Witnessing all he witnesses in a nine-year span drives the somewhat reclusive Snowden even more inward. This characterization of Snowden plays perfectly into Levitt’s acting style.

He’s 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) does 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 rather long but it is not slow. It is however — 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

Rated R for mature themes, language. Snowden’s story leans a bit left but it is conservative friendly and one not to be missed. Give it a 4 on the Average Joe Movie 0 to 5 scale.

Click here for showtimes and theaters.

5 to 4 1/2: Must see on the big screen.
4 to 3 1/2: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 to 2 1/2: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 to 1: Don’t bother.
0:Speaks for itself.

Gary Wolcott has been a movie consultant for KXL since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and newspaper for 25-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.

Got a movie suggestion or comment? Email him!

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