Hero or dissident. Whistleblower or evil hacker. Patriot or traitor. These are some of the labels tossed about whenever Edward Snowden’s name is mentioned. And the conversation rarely stops there: Snowden’s disclosures have fueled numerous debates over national security and information privacy.
Director Oliver Stone has taken Snowden’s side, but with a strong measure of restraint.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers an excellent performance as the bespectacled computer wizard who has a sincere desire to serve his country. Levitt skillfully captures Snowden’s low voice, gestures, and mannerisms, breathing life into the motivations behind the startling decision that transformed a former soldier into a wanted man. Extroverted and liberally minded Lindsay Mills (girlfriend) portrayed by Shailene Woodley provides the perfect foil to Snowden’s daily brooding and growing paranoia over government secrets at an NSA facility.
I wondered about Snowden’s parents and siblings. While there are brief references to government and military careers, the family of origin is not represented. Instead, two “father figures” emerge: Corbin O’Brian (Rhys Ifans) appears as Snowden’s boss and mentor, and Nicolas Cage portrays a renegade instructor.
This gripping docudrama contains real news footage and clips from President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and CNN.
Disturbing…thought-provoking…unsettling…The movie evoked many feelings, some not so comfortable, but I don’t regret seeing it. I needed to shake up my zebra thinking!