Disillusioned with the intelligence community, top contractor Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) leaves his job at the National Security Agency. He now knows that a virtual mountain of data is being assembled to track all forms of digital communication -- not just from foreign governments and terrorist groups, but from ordinary Americans. When Snowden decides to leak this classified information, he becomes a traitor to some, a hero to others and a fugitive from the law.

I came to this movie with an open mind and a little excited to see what they would present about Edward Snowden.  I watched a lot of stories about him from the press, 60 minutes, internet articles and what ever.  But mostly with a negative spin to it.  So I wanted to know who the man was behind this  story of the century.  But first, lets talk about the director Oliver Stone.  If you followed his movies over the years, you know he's had directed plenty of controversial films and some of his films that made you respect his directing style.  Lately he has kept with that controversial theme but his direction has been weaker than his previous work (see Spike Lee's latest movies).  Here are the stand out movies he has directed or produced during his career"

  • Platoon
  • Wall street (greed is good)
  • Talk radio (underrated)
  • Born on the 4th of July
  • JFK
  • Natural Born Killers
  • Any Given Sunday (Fan favorite)
  • World trade Center

Now we have Snowden.  Stone gives you a total background of Snowden as he begins his career trying to be in the special forces but because of a freak injury that reveals deeper problems with his health.  He switches to the CIA.  We find that this young man is not only a genius but a true patriot to our nation.  Die hard conservative and borderline tea party advocate.   Stone present the human side of Snowden  throughout the movie to let us know this guy isn't a felon or an opportunist but someone who saw government running amuck and waited  for years before he made a decision the reveal these programs the government has created to spy on everyone.  Because of his ability to program, assess problems and just been a tremendous asset, Snowden is used in so many ways to assist the government new surveillance program and take down ordinary citizens that may be potential threats. Or as the movie shows us, leverage people by using their data to get to others.   Stone directs this so each opportunity you get, he makes sure you know this wasn't a premeditated effort to steal anything and Snowden throughout his career, continued to struggle with his conscience, his optimistic and free minded girlfriend while supporting his country.  

We have some intrigue here and there but nothing to get you riled up and enjoy the suspense.  This movie felt as though Stone created this out of respect for Snowden.  And it was all about Snowden.  Not the pressure the reporters went through.  The countries that shielded him as he moved from one to the other.  Nothing focusing on WiKileaks founder Julian Assange assisting him and how he was attacked with allegations that put him in the cross hairs of the government and the media.  This i believe was to sway public opinion about this guy as not being a traitor.  My next effort is to watch citizenFour which is the documentary on Edward Snowden when the reporters came to Hong Kong to interview him.  With this I want to see if this will given me the level of details about how everyone around him sacrificed their lives and careers for this man and this story.  

Big screen movie?  No, TV or short film, I would say yes.  If Stone wanted to make this a movie he should have added in more suspense and intrigue.  If he wanted to tell the story he should have made another documentary type film.  This was average and not a memorable piece that will be remembered long after it goes to video.  But great ode to Snowden who made us realize, Big Brother is watching, listening and collecting everything.