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October 29, 2016

SNOWDEN

SnowdenOliver Stone achieves his obvious, if straightforward, motivations at telling Edward Snowden’s journey from Coast Guard brat to grand scale whistleblower.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt fulfills his thorough portrayal of Edward Snowden with an easy meticulousness that is comforting in its confidence. This is Oscar-worthy stuff. Shailene Woodley gives a serviceable performance as Snowden’s girlfriend Lindsay Mills, even if the chemistry isn’t what could have been with a better cast actress.

Stone takes dramatic liberties to fill the screen with richly stylized sets, such as the artistically lit NSA location where Snowden smuggles out a boatload of classified information. We take these artificial environments on their own merits as places where inorganic computers [run by robot-like men] dissect every second of every person’s life on the planet, from cradle to the grave. Anyone looking for a 100% factual depiction of Edward Snowden’s complex journey is playing a mug’s game. Glossy though this rendition of Snowden's ongoing path to justice is, this movie runs like a Swiss watch

There is no question that Edward Snowden exhibited a rare brand of bravery that deserves a good dose of character study at the movies. “Snowden” manages to be as entertaining and informative as you would expect from the filmmaker responsible for “Salvador,” “Platoon,” “Wall Street,” and “JFK.”

Snowden-le-film

“Snowden” fits into to fact-based political thrillers like “All the President’s Men.” What makes it different is that this is the story of one man, a computer genius with a deeply rooted sense of integrity and responsibility. This is a personal story about one man, whose brave disclosures effect all of humanity. The unspoken hook of the film is why the NSA hasn’t been shut down since Snowden’s leaked documents prove this unconstitutional surveillance of our global citizenry is going on.

I have no idea if this film will change anyone’s mind about whether Edward Snowden is the greatest patriot of the 21st century. That isn’t the goal of this movie.

Snowden2

Rated R. 134 mins. (B+) (Four Stars — out of five / no halves)


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Comments

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Cole, great writing - as always.

Ben Franklin wrote that “those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

So, when US surveillance policy in documents like The Patriot Act, The USA Freedom Act (extends most provisions of the Patriot Act until 2019) and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act directly violate The US Constitution, and you have a job in a government hierarchy whose purpose is to egregiously perpetuate this violation, what do you do?

“The Guardian” and “The Washington Post” ended up earning the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for their part in revealing Snowden's information. In the aftermath, “The New York Times” reported no harms could be traced to Snowden’s exposures and has called for President Obama to pardon him.

Back to Franklin, it looks like this is a case that should go to The Supreme Court. I'd like to see the Harvard Law School rise like they did for Daniel Ellsberg, defend Snowden and test the legitimacy of the US Constitution.

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