Benjamin Maio Mackay
Snowden - 3 Stars
A bland film that Hollywoodises Edward Snowden’s life and fails to be anywhere as good as Oliver Stone’s previous films.
SNOWDEN reveals the incredible untold personal story of Edward Snowden, the polarising figure who exposed shocking illegal surveillance activities by the NSA and became one of the most wanted men in the world. He is considered a hero by some, and a traitor by others. No matter which you believe, the epic story of why he did it, who he left behind, and how he pulled it off makes for one of the most compelling films of the year.
When there’s a documentary that covers so much of what we see in this movie you have to ask yourself why make it? If there was another element that could be added to the story only through dramatisation that would be a sound reason. What this film thought the element should be was romance and brooding. There’s so much brooding…. Snowden’s personal life also isn’t of interest or relevance to the plot - yet it takes up a lot of time. The aftereffect of his actions on his personal life would've been interesting, yet they are only lightly touched upon. Shailene Woodley is atrocious as Snowden’s girlfriend and Joseph Gordon-Levitt offers a solid performance.
The most interesting scenes are those where the journalists are huddled in a hotel room with Snowden - yet there are far too little of these.
Overall, watch the documentary, the film doesn’t add to the story.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay Screening courtesy of Walt Disney Entertainment