Snowden – What A Snoozer – Review

Courtesy Open Road

Courtesy Open Road

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Edward Snowden – a former member of the military who was discharged after an injury made it impossible for him to serve.  However, he is a smart, patriotic guy with the aptitude to master computer programming and more, which makes him valuable to the CIA

As he makes his way through the intelligence world via the CIA via the NSA and via private contractors, Edward sees the dirty underbelly of fighting terrorism, and his conscience no longer will allow him to stand by idly.  When confronted by the reality of how the government is spying on Americans instead of terrorists or enemies, he decides to reveal all to the world.  Now, Snowden is considered to be a traitor and Public Enemy #1.

The movie Snowden is flatter than Gordon-Levitt’s monotone vocal impression of the title subject.

Writer/director Oliver Stone brilliantly tries to add visual flair to make it more interesting as he attempts to show us concepts and how all of this works.  He even makes Snowden’s ultimate showdown with his longtime mentor epic as the evil teacher appears on a screen bigger than life with actor Rhys Ifans using the character to taunt and control his student.

But, if you don’t know the Snowden story, much of this comes off like gobbledygook.  It’s hard to make an exciting movie out of people typing at keyboards, even if we are debating the right to privacy versus the need for security in a dangerous world.

To remedy this, Stone attempts to add a personal drama between Snowden and his hippie, artist girlfriend, Lindsay (Shailene Woodley), but it feels like a forced gambit to humanize him and introduce some more relatable element to his personality and the story.  If the movie is well told, the audience would be engrossed in the more serious story about a guy trying to do the right thing and standing up to forces more powerful than he could ever be.

Instead, we get some story, some weak relationship drama and a telling of Snowden’s escape tagged on to the end like an afterthought.

1_5waffles_sml1 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)

Snowden is rated R for language and some sexuality/nudity.