So in order to best cover all bases, progressive film critics tend to consider three categories of assessment, rather than two: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The first two are self-explanatory. And the third category is reserved for movies that may have been impressively put together, but there's just something offensively anti-humanistic about them.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Oliver Stone's surveillance state docu-thriller Snowden delves with detailed scrutiny into the controversial life and defiant courage of NSA whistleblower and fugitive Edward Snowden. Revisiting much of what we already know through media accounts and the prior Laura Poitras Oscar winning documentary, Citizen Four, there are nevertheless several fascinating details gathered along the way.
And burrowing into the Snowden's introverted egghead personality with as much demonstrative emotional energy as is possible under the circumstances, Joseph Gordon-Levitt sensitively expresses a dual conflict plaguing in succession the profoundly psychologically and politically torn Snowden. Including his deeply held conservative ideological family roots, a brief stint as a Special Ops soldier until he broke both legs in training, and unquestioning patriotism sorely tested by both his shocking cyberspace discoveries of unethical government mass espionage of its citizens as a CIA and NSA computer analyst - along with the leftist politics of Lindsay (Shailene Woodley), a romance ironically ignited online as well, at a dating site.
The evolving and occasionally politically divisive contentious romance between Ed and Lindsay, though lingering for too long as time out interludes between the far more serious and sobering matters, does lend a few welcome casual digressions from the heavy duty narrative wrought with unrelenting anxiety and danger. In particular when they first kiss and Snowden in a rare moment of humorous abandon, jokes that her lips taste too liberal. And a pause for thought to wonder just how much his activist girlfriend's influence may have kicked in, leading to such a tremendous ideologically subversive transformation. And with Lindsay remarking at one point, 'I've been watching your inner liberal grow, and I like it.'
Likewise an ironic addition to the proceedings, is Snowden's army commander at boot camp early on in the film, searching around for the missing injured recruit and in hindsight rather prophetically barking, 'Where the fuck is Snowden!' While in summation audiences are left to ponder - Snowden: patriot, fugitive, soldier, spy, hacker, traitor, hero. With Stone somewhat suggesting that viewers call the shots on their own.
Posted by Solidaridad Press at 4:30 PM