Exposing the intense, complicated truths of politics, this true story focuses on the governmental spying and computer intelligence of the 2000’s. This political drama is an exciting, action-packed film; but with it’s jumping and repetitive storyline, Snowden fails to maintain interest and ultimately ruins the true story of Edward Snowden.
Opening with an interview of Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 500 Days of Summer), the audience begins to get familiarized with a messy situation involving Snowden’s employment at the National Security Administration (NSA). In the midst of the interview, Edward has a flashback to 2006 when he was training for the military and broke his legs, leaving him medically discharged from the army. While at the hospital in recovery, Edward meets a girl online named Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley, The Divergent series). The relationship between these two eventually becomes a main part of the film and drives much of the film’s emotion. Meanwhile, Edward is still trying to find a way to help his country without being in the military. He looks for a job in the government, and eventually gets hired him at the NSA.
While working at different government facilities, he finds out that the government uses a computer code, ‘XKeyChord’, as a spying device through webcams, messaging, emails and social media. Edward becomes paranoid as he realizes the government is watching him. As Edward disagrees with the supposedly illegal actions of the NSA, he becomes conflicted as to whether or he can support his country. Snowden has a series of flashbacks, however their frequency makes the plot hard to follow. Edward’s anxiety starts to take a toll on his health as starts having aneurysms due to his work. Lindsay, Snowden’s now girlfriend, comforts him and suggests a trip to Hawaii; but to no avail. Edward decides to put an end to the illegal things that the NSA is doing.
This film takes actors out of their typical roles and challenges them to portray unexpected characters, which makes the film enjoyable to watch. The cast includes Nicholas Cage (National Treasure), who acts as an influential mentor to Edward Snowden. The relationship adds a quality emotional layer to the film and adds plenty dimension to the film. Scott Eastwood (The Longest Ride) surprises the audience and does a fantastic job shifting from his usual roles as a romantic flirt to a serious government official. Glenn Greenwald, (Zachary Quinto, Star Trek), is the typical extremely stern reporter, giving the audience a classic taste of Quinto’s stern demeanor.
Snowden’s inclusion of unexpected casting made the movie surprising, and at times the plot took exciting turns that keep viewers on the end of their seats. However the frequency of flashbacks and repetitiveness made the film dull and confusing. Overall, this was a very disappointing movie that did not live up to the expectations set by the previews.