There are two types of people in this world: those who can hack and those who can’t get the wires right on a VCR, let alone understand global computer networks. Our guess is, most Snowden audiences are made up of the latter—folks who barely can wrap their heads around a megabyte. So the movie (another anatomically correct work from Oliver Stone) is a bit of a snooze. To add, few of us work for the CIA, which means intelli-speak isn’t even our third language. And there’s an awful lot of it.
We already know the story of Edward Snowden (who copied and leaked top-secret NSA information, revealing the agency to be up to no good) and were looking forward to not a hair-splittingly accurate account, but to something meaty to chew on. Like: What does global surveillance really mean to the average Joe? And what actually would our responsibility be in the unlikely event we are smart enough to uncover massive governmental skulduggery?
One interesting element was showing Snowden’s girlfriend snapping endless pictures of her camera-phobic boyfriend: an attempt to underscore his hyper-sensitivity to privacy? And the movie also made a point of communicating that all surveillance might simply be prevented by putting our phones in the microwave or sticking a scrap of Bandaid on our computer’s eyeball. Played sympathetically by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the depiction of Snowden is sensitive. He comes across as a pleasant man with an absurdly brilliant mind. Showing him this way gives us a definite clue about Stone’s opinion of the whole affair.
Should You See It? If it’s your kind of thing, yes.
Viewed at Landmark Tivoli