Oliver Stone's polemical defense of Edward Snowden's actions to release classified information regarding the National Security Agency's collection of private information on American citizens is not his best work but it has the sheen of importance, if not the performances to match its weighty subject. The film, which stars a throaty Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Snowden, tracks the former special forces recruit through basic training (he was discharged by stress fractures in his legs), his admission to CIA training school in Langley, Virginia, and his work in counter-intelligence in Hawaii, establishing Snowden as a patriot at heart. During the time of his CIA training, Snowden, an brilliant autodidact meets his intelligence mentor Corbin O'Brian (a wonderful Rhys Ifans) and his future love interest, the unapologetically liberal Lindsey (a good but badly wigged Shailene Woodley), who ends up pulling Snowden to the left. Unknown to her, she gets an assist from unsettling discoveries about covert intelligence, the War on Terror and the reducing of foreign civilians to dust. Snowden's decision to share information with reporters from The Guardian is portrayed as the work of a patriot who values the Constitution more than his own freedom. Snowden is a political martyr, and Stone's film is a competently crafted apologia for what some charge was a treasonous act. It's deliberate, preachy, and Stone. Recommended.


Popular Posts