Snowden (2016) – No Place to Hide

Oliver Stone’s “Snowden” really did a great job when it came to Edward Snowden. For Snowden, it’s a sin when you try to be quiet while the law tries to tie you tight. Whether you are doing what is now or where you are, Edward Snowden is like a God. He monitors your movements, especially in your private time. If you want to share some secret, the internet or smartphone is not the place. Ambiguity arises when people glorify Snowden’s figure. On the other hand, society also considers him as a traitor who should be assassinated as best as it could. After a long time, Stone back with his trademark after “Savages”, four years before this movie.

Mass media such as the Guardian and Washington issued an important yet secret documents from secret spy programs run by the NSA. After the 9/11, the government tried to upgrade their defense so that the only way was to spy on their own society. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden, together with Melissa Leo as Laura Poitras and Zachary Quinto as Glenn Greenwald, promised to meet each other in face-to-face. On the other hand, this is also not about Snowden’s attempt to uncover government secrets. There is an unfair relationship between Shailene Woodley as Lindsay Mills and Snowden himself. Snowden must be able to choose between work and relationship or take real action.

Unlike “Citizenfour”, “Snowden” is a biopic lighthearted yet not really that complex. It’s not a complicated movie at first glance. Oliver Stone always takes serious themes related to politics or patriotism. This film doesn’t have a serious theme but its appearance isn’t less noticeable. The theme itself doesn’t really make it about Snowden or how it works. Maybe, this film makes it possible to attract market attention or the mainstream audience. This film uses a more friendly character than “Citizenfour” as a documentary which is used real footage of Ed Snowden. The movie is not too rewatchable from the documentary. There is a pointless part except for the most biopic.

“Snowden” is like a God in the sky or God’s eyes. Considerably, we live in this post-modernism era where technology takes part in our lives. You could say, the technology itself is God himself. We don’t want to be spied on, but for what? For what programs like this are actually launched. Let this be the first and last time. Ed Snowden can be a superhero, villain, or even both. While people keep their private information on the internet every day, are there two of them here? Because in fact, this comes from fear post-9/11, the last time we have to steps forward to it. It’s just that, spy on its own society was not the right choice.

Ed Snowden’s story before becoming a hacker and the whistleblower at first he became a soldier. But, the movie only shows briefly. Snowden began his story when he was injured. He had to go out and find another way to serve his country. Gordon-Levitt admits that this is his best performance he has ever done from all his career. Snowden’s parents are also even proud wholeheartedly. Shailene Woodley as Mills is an innocent character as extraordinary ones for the best performance. There are lots of dilemmas they have to face together such as their life, love story, and Snowden’s epilepsy.

At the end of the movie, Stone shows Ed Snowden’s real person with his speech directly from Moscow. Snowden and Mills show their interdependent glance. They have the potential to show their genuine characters. Their emotions connect to each other but not too obvious for them to do. The pace is slow but carried out in a calm and vivid way. The transitions between flashback and current events do have a mild style for a serious theme. However, it isn’t smooth but rough. The current events and the flashback would be united into the main performance. Other than that, it’s too skippable. There is so much unimportant and pointless scene like you want to skip the part and watch more important points.

It’s a compelling biopic. This is a film about Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who taught us to be extreme I guess. It raises so many pros and cons between whether he is a hero or villain. The story has a bit of serious issue. It has many interesting characteristics as well as the rule out the possibility. “Snowden” is not a bad movie by Oliver Stone but a biopic with a solid story, an interesting side to put with.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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