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Snowden

Director:  Oliver Stone
Year Released:  2016
Rating:  3.0

Stone covers the life (so far) of National Security Agency whistleblower/traitor (pick your side for now) Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as he goes from soldier to working for the NSA to disclosing dodgy surveillance techniques used by the American Intelligence community to the Guardian newspaper and documentarian Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo). It's an ideal project for the Stone (who has long been at odds with the U.S. government) - he properly conveys Snowden's growing sense of disillusionment and guilt when he discovers programs he's been working on have been used to invade people's privacy and helped the military kill 'terrorists' with drone strikes. It's surprisingly subdued for the director, too, with him only slipping into excess every so often - an outdoor party becomes a Symbolic Mess, with Ed mentioning the Nuremberg trials, a toy drone falling out of the sky and then Ed having a seizure ... which is followed by Rhys Ifans' head projected on a giant wall and acting like a Bond villain. My major concern, however, is that since this is a narrative still playing out - as of this writing, the subject is living in Russia and active on Twitter - it's difficult to know if everything being conveyed here is factually accurate ... and I still have personal doubts as to whether Snowden handled the entire situation properly (Stone, as expected, is quick to label him a hero).

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